April '06 Topics
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"If you tried to read every document on the web,
then for each day's effort you would be a year further behind in your goal."
Top 10 Viruses
This newsletter has been produced to help you
get the most out of the Internet,
Well, last month it was the receptionist who was leaving; This month it's me. After six and a half years at Actrix I've decided to take on some some challenges I've been thinking about for a while now. 31 March is my last day. I'll stay on as editor of the monthly newsletter, but the project management side of the operations role will be taken on by Pete Cranston who has distinguished himself so ably as Support Supervisor over the last year or so.
Without getting too gushy, I would like to take a moment to write about how I am truly saddened to be leaving such a great company and a wonderful bunch of work mates. I've worked in a number of environments, but never in one with such a family atmosphere, or with such a human heart. I'm proud to have been part of Actrix!
I've also made a lot of friends amongst customers over the years, and it's been a privilege to have that interaction as part of my job. I hope that can continue at least in e-mail, and the fact that I'm staying on as editor is something for which I'm really thankful.
Anyway, I hope there is something for you this month. If you've been hanging out for news of better broadband plans, this is the newsletter for you!
You better, you better, you bet!
That's right. As of 2 April, Actrix will be offering new broadband plans. There will be a number of changes and we'll cover a few of those off below, but the upshot of it all will be faster plans at lower cost, and an even greater range of choices. Especially good news for business customers is that their prices will also tumble to match the new low residential rates.
Actrix is committed to giving you choice from a wide range of product offerings to ensure you get the plan that most suits your wishes. Our plans are also unique in that we offer a daily cap rather than a monthly cap. This means that if you have a period where you download your daily quota all at once, you're only restricted to a lower speed until 2 a.m. the next morning, instead of until the end of the month.
The table below summarises the plans available from 2 April. As you can see, you can choose from a variety of speeds and daily caps, depending on what you think you will most likely need. More information about the plans in general is included below the chart.
Spoiled for choice?
There are a number of plan options available as you can see, and for the same price sometimes you could get either more speed or more of a download allowance. If you want broadband, but you're not sure what plan is best for you, feel free to call our help desk after 2 April. If you tell our helpful staff about how you tend to use the Internet, they'll happily advise you about which plan will suit you best.
People who use the Internet for e-mail and a little surfing each day won't need a big cap, and should probably think most about what speed they want. If you're into big downloads, you may want to weigh off how much daily data you need against speed and price. If you send lots of big files as well as receive them, you may want to consider the 3.5Mb plan with the 512kb upload speed feature. Unfortunately, because of restrictions placed on its network by Telecom, the 512 upload speed is only available with the 3.5Mb plan.
From games and guitar tuners to word processors and accounting packages. If you want to try new software, you can probably download what you need for free online.
The Internet was first developed on the basis of an enthusiasm for freedom and co-operation. There would be no world-wide-web without a corresponding world-wide-willingness to link servers and share information simply for its own sake. But it didnt take software developers long to realise that it was exactly that aspect of the Internet that provided a ready-made distribution network for their products. By harnessing that spirit of sharing and freedom, these developers could bypass the need for brick and mortar storefronts and five-figure advertising budgets. The concept of shareware was born.
Shareware, Freeware, Crippleware?
The collective term shareware really refers to a distribution method, rather than to anything peculiar to any software. As the name implies, its designed to be downloaded and shared. Thats great for us consumers, but it doesnt necessarily mean we never have to pay.
In some cases, shareware programs will simply cease to work after a set evaluation period unless you buy. This is known as crippleware. In other cases the software will continue to work, but you will only have access to its most basic functions. This is often referred to as demoware. In order to get the premium functions, youll need to pay for an update that will unlock them.
Freeware refers to fully-functioning programs which you can use forever for nothing. Usually, the developer will continue to hold copyright which means you cant modify the program or on-sell it, but you do get free use, and the developer gets product awareness, reputation, and/or the ability to advertise to you through some built in display function.
Benefits and Dangers of Shareware
The benefits of the shareware system are reasonably obvious. Developers can market and distribute their products all around the world with relative ease, and the more people that use their product, the more they can charge for any advertising that comes with it. Consumers benefit because they can try before they buy, seeing which of the many programs on offer best meets their needs.
Not all shareware is benign, though. One other way a developer has to make money is to bundle spyware into the products set-up files. Marketing companies will pay top dollar to have their program stealthily installed at the same time so that it can report home about the users online habits. Developers would rather not do this, especially if they value their reputation, but for some, the temptation and monetary rewards are just too good to refuse.
Some of the free stuff you can download is downright malicious and will install auto-diallers on your machine to hijack your dialup connection and get you dialling-up overseas at premium rates. Some will contain viruses or trojans to open up holes in your security that a hacker can exploit. You should download from reputable sites only. If youre unsure about a product on offer, enter it into Google, and see if there is anything negative written on the web about it.
Free Software Sites
Another reliable source for shareware is www.download.com. At sites like these you are more likely to find a worthwhile, safe product that will suit your needs.
Boutique browsers such as Opera (www.opera.com) and
NZ Shareware Success Story
Christchurch man Nick Bolton became so frustrated with Spam that in 2001 he spent $25,000 of his own money developing his anti-spam tool MailWasher and released it online for free. All he did was put a banner at the top of the program introducing himself (and his cat, Jean-Pierre) and asked for voluntary donations. Around 10 percent of grateful users made donations earning him over $3 million per year by 2003. Even with the rising Kiwi dollar (most purchasers are overseas) Bolton says that hes still doing a nice seven figures each year. His company, Firetrust, now employs 23 people and has offices in both Christchurch and Texas.
The free version of Mailwasher allows you to check your e-mail headers before you download which means you can delete spam and other undesirable stuff safely before it reaches you. You can upgrade to a paid version that has extra features if you like (see www.mailwasher.net).
If youre into shoot-em-ups and fantasy, and youre wondering how to get more guts and glory out of your computer, theres a fair bit of free stuff online to get you started. Demos for many of the latest popular games can be downloaded free, but these will often be limited to the lowest levels, and will be missing some features. You generally wont be able to connect to international servers and play against other players unless you purchase full versions, but if you want to see what you like before you commit, try sites like www.gpdownloads.co.nz, www.gamespot.com or http://half-life2.com/.
Cheap 10 day demos can sometimes be purchased from the Warehouse, which you can then register and pay to upgrade online.
To really play these games seriously against other players around the world, and to download a game quickly, youre going to need a broadband connection. Some of the downloadable demos are several hundred Megabytes in size!
If you'd like to ask a question or request some help on any Actrix or Internet-related matter. Simply send me an e-mail with the word "Forum" in the subject line. I'll try and get an answer to you by return e-mail, and will also post the answer here for the benefit of others who may have a similar question or problem. By the same token, if you read something here and think you may have something to suggest, please feel more than free. Please also note that questions and answers may also turn up under the Helpful Tips section on the Actrix home page (www.actrix.co.nz).
Norman writes: Hi Rob, Like your newsletters - very informative. My query is this: what is the size limit for hotmail messages? I have sent emails with photos attached and they have been returned as undeliverable. Regards, Norman
Hi Norman, There's a size limit of one Megabyte when sending attachments to Hotmail. That's for the free accounts. MSN Hotmail Plus subscribers get 20 MB.
Famous5 writes: Hiya, We have recently upgraded from the ME edition to XP and would like help, if 'n you wouldn't mind. Something on our ME edition that we don't seem to be able to view on our XP is 'History'. On our previous ME edition, without connecting to the internet we could view any previously downloaded page or file by left clicking 'My Computer' on our desktop, then right clicking on 'Explore', 'C drive', 'Windows' then 'History', we could view pages of web sites we had visited. However the XP edition has us stumped, we have tried synchronising all above mentioned pages as well as ticking the 'view offline' box but nothing seems to work. We are a young couple with young children that frequently use the internet for school activities and such, and are extremely conscious of pages they view on the web. Our children have hotmail addresses we like to keep tabs on and did not have a problem checking their movement on our ME edition, Please help, we must be doing something wrong or something not right! Look forward to hearing from you.
Hi Debbie, Providing you're using Internet Explorer, there are much easier ways to view your history, and these work under XP and most Windows versions.
With Internet Explorer open, click on View on the tools menu. Click on Explorer bar in the menu that drops down, and then on History. All your history can be viewed by day and time. Even easier, with Internet Explorer open, just type H whilst holding down the ctrl key.
This should all work whether you're online or not. Other browsers have similar functions that are probably just as easy to use. If you're not using Internet Explorer, let me know and I'll get you instructions for whatever browser you're using.
Brian writes: I have just read your answer (last month) to the WinFIXER problem. I have found that the popup advertising this "helpful" program can come in through Windows Messenger. While following up on the Windows Metafile exploit after a warning in the Windows Secrets Newsletter, I learned about several other possible points of entry, including Windows Messenger. I learned it is intended (unlike MSN Messenger) to be used only in a LAN, but can be hijacked from the Net. The suggestion was made to use Shoot The Messenger, from Gibson Research Corporation to disable it. Any method of turning it off, and closing its port, should be useful. Regards, Brian
Excellent, Brian, thanks.
Bert writes: Hello Rob, I get e-mails from time to time which contain pictures that do not show up on my computer. I do realise that I am missing the reader programmes for the pictures in question. My question to you is, can I, by going to properties of these e-mails, find out how the pictures were created and so ascertain what I need to download to view them? Regards Bert.
Hi Bert, Thanks for your e-mail. No, not really. The headers of the e-mails will only contain information about the e-mail itself, what program sent it, what servers it passed through, when, etc.When an attachment is made to an e-mail, nothing is recorded about what created the attached file, or anything like that.
You can tell a lot about the file by its extension, and sometimes you can tell what created it that way. The most common file extensions for images are .jpg and gif. These are pretty generic, though, as jpgs and gifs can be made by any or most graphics programs. By the same token, jpgs and gifs should be easily viewable by any imaging software you have, including Picture Viewer which comes standard with Windows.
Image files created by proprietary programs such as PhotoShop won't be viewable at all unless you have the programs installed; likewise with PowerPoint presentations (ending in .pps) unless you have Microsoft Office, or a PowerPoint viewer program.
One way to learn what created a non-generic file is to check its file extension on the net. http://filext.com/, for example, allows you to enter the file extension into a search box. It will then give you some information about the program that outputs those files.
Interesting sites (Click the picture links to access the sites)
Please note: Actrix supplies links to these sites for your interest and possible use. We cannot endorse or take any responsibility for their contents.
Got a site you think would be neat to share with other readers? Click here to e-mail and let me know!
|The Haggis-On-Whey world of unbelievable brilliance
www.haggis-on-whey.com - "Dr Doris Haggis-on-Whey has seventeen degrees from eighteen institutions of higher learning. She is a world-renowned and much feared expert on just about everything. With her husband Benny, she has travelled the world many times over, and has learned about all aspects of life, including outer space and food, first-hand. She has written or will soon write over 147 books. Benny is the husband of Dr Doris Haggis-on-Whey, and enjoys putting on his socks." Check out the Amazon links to read about their very interesting books.
|Tricks of the Trade
www.tradetricks.org/ - All sorts of trade tricks are featured here that could help you get things done better, quicker, cheaper or with less discomfort. Some are so obvious you'll wonder why you never thought of them yourself. More than trades are covered. Helpful tips for all sorts of things are included, such as hitch-hiking, being a mother and ordering steaks.
www.riddlenut.com/show.php - These are more difficult and more fun than you might think. The site is a collection of clever questions that will get you scratching your head. You can click to get the answer before you move on. You're welcome to submit riddles of your own. As an added point of interest, there's a page on the old GRY riddle at http://www.riddlenut.com/gryriddle.php.
|How to stop time (at least for a few seconds)
www.grasshopper.com/mind-games/how-to-stop-time/ - "Einstein demonstrated that time is relative. But the rabbit-hole goes much deeper. Quantum physics discovered that consciousness is entangled in matter in some inexplicable ways; but other than the very fast, or very small, or very large, we tend to assume our ordinary reality conforms more to the laws of Newton. Simple cause and effect unfolding with clockwork constancy well, its time to shatter this assumption. Lets stop time."
|34 Science faves
www.livescience.com/readerfavorites/index.html - Here's a page containing 34 links to favourite and fascinating science topics from the LiceScience web page. Features include Earth facts, a Titanic quiz, the ugliest animals, the most dangerous animals, missing links, the wildest dragons of all time, the top 10 ways to destroy the world, and much much more.
|How products are made
www.madehow.com/ - From guillotines to popcorn, paint to nuclear submarines, How Products Are Made explains and details the manufacturing process of a wide variety of products, Step by step descriptions of the assembly and the manufacturing process (complemented with illustrations and diagrams) are included.
www.supersizedmeals.com/food/index.php - I've included this link for interest's sake, not at all because I think it is the sort of thing that America or the world needs. Overeating and then feeling remorseful about it is one thing. Overeating, taking photographs of the evidence, and then posting them online is something else. You want a bucket of fries with that?
|The $39 experiment
www.the39dollarexperiment.com/ - "The way I looked at it, if I took $39 and went to buy groceries, I wouldn't be able to get all that much. I decided I was going to try something I was going to take my roll of stamps and send 100 letters to 100 different companies, asking for free stuff. I figured that I couldn't do any worse than blowing the $39 at a casino, and who knows... maybe a few of these places would actually send me something good."
|Religious affiliations of comic book characters
www.adherents.com/lit/comics/comic_book_religion.html - Did you know that Superman was a Methodist (after a possible conversion from his Kryptonian religion)? What about that Batman was a lapsed Catholic, or that Robin may have been of the Jewish faith? Thanks to this site you can learn from the superheroes as you contemplate religious choices. It's all there in black and white (and sometimes in colour), and the affiliations have been examined exhaustively.
www.sacred-destinations.com/ - Continuing in the religious vein, but this time with a little more usefulness and seriousness is this site containing pictures and information about sacred sites all around the world that you might like to visit one day. Whether you're religious or not, it can't be denied that a lot of the historical sites that are so interesting to visit, existed originally for sacred reasons.
Surrogate mother found online: Meeting prospective parents on the internet is also outside surrogacy ethics guidelines, which say a surrogate must be a family member or close friend. Click here for more.
Judgments online soon: The Justice Ministry says court judgments will be routinely posted online by the middle of this year through a new website. Click here for more.
Trade Me fans fear worst: The people who "make Trade Me what it is" have hit out at the $700 million buy-out, fearing it will ruin New Zealand's most popular website. Click here for more.
All well for first internet heart patient: Neville Hawker was fitted with an electronic defibrillator which has the dual function of sending messages to cardiologists over the internet. Click here for more.
NZ broadband like budget Big Mac without extras: A Big Mac may cost less in New Zealand than it does in the United Kingdom but, when the price is used to compare broadband services, the British burgers are bigger and more filling, a study has found. Click here for more.
Trade Me's secret: numbers: David Owen got hooked on Trade Me soon after he arrived from England in 2004, when he bought a fencing kit - mask, foils, jacket, gloves, breeches - for $75. Click here for more.
Broadband can make us better off: The Economist Intelligence Unit says New Zealanders would be $2700 a year better off on average by 2030 if the time it takes to get most people their own broadband connection could be brought forward 11 years. Click here for more.
NZ hacks on the rise: Hacking is on the rise both here and worldwide, Mr Low says, as hacking tools become more powerful. Click here for more.
Blocking porn panned: InternetNZ is rubbishing a proposal by Australia's Labor Party to force internet service providers to block access to websites with R-rated content. Click here for more.
Trade Me hikes charges: Trade Me is under fire from online traders after hiking charges - just 21 days after Fairfax spent $700 million to buy the auction website. Click here for more.
French MPs vote on digital piracy: If it becomes law France would be the first country to authorise the swapping of copyrighted music. Click here for more.
Tolls could dot the Internet highway: ...by effectively adding a toll lane: They want to be able to give priority treatment to those who pay to get through faster. Click here for more.
The MySpace Age: It's up there with MSN, Google and Yahoo! But have you heard of it? Click here for more.
Thousands fall for Hotmail prank: ...a chain e-mail is making the rounds: Microsoft will soon charge all Hotmail account holders, it claims... Click here for more.
Super surfers oust couch potatoes: Britons with internet access now spend more time surfing the web than watching the box. Click here for more.
Sex crime suspect nabbed after boys' Web prank: Five boys who posted a fake profile of a 15-year-old girl as an Internet prank helped police arrest a 48-year-old man who tried to meet the fictitious teenager for sex, authorities said Monday. Click here for more.
South Korea aims to cool internet rage attacks: Dog poop girl is infamous in South Korea. Click here for more.
Internet blows CIA agents' cover: The Chicago Tribune says it has compiled a list of 2,653 CIA employees, just by searching the internet. Click here for more.
Mourners to pay virtual respects: Webcams are being installed at a crematorium in Hull so people who are unable to travel to a funeral can pay their respects online. Click here for more.
Need for speed: In Sweden, the debate is whether internet access of 100 MB a second is enough, or if they should go to 1 gigabyte - 10 times faster. In New Zealand, few users get even one percent of that capacity. Click here for more.
Cyber bullies haunt young online: Bullies are increasingly using the internet to terrorise teenagers outside of school, a survey suggests. Click here for more.
Poker peril: How a little bit of online fun can end in debt and despair. Click here for more.
Over-50 crowd finding love online too: Susan Gladstone's moment came when she turned 50. Divorced, with two children, she was getting tired of asking friends to fix her up and being told they just couldn't think of anyone. And so, she turned to online dating. Click here for more.
Attacks target Internet traffic cops: A new variety of unusually powerful Internet attacks can overwhelm popular Web sites and disrupt e-mails by exploiting the computers that help manage global Internet traffic, according to security researchers. Click here for more.
Are kids too plugged in?: Today 82 percent of kids are online by the seventh grade, according to the Pew Internet and American Life Project. Click here for more.
World banks align to fight online child pornography: A group of financial institutions, internet companies and organisations fighting child pornography have formed a new coalition in hopes of cutting off online payment mechanisms for web sites selling child pornography. Click here for more.
Creator's vision of open net: Commonly regarded as the creator of the internet...Vint Cerf is modest about his achievements. "This is not a one-man show by any means," he says with a chuckle. Click here for more.
Email worm threatens lawsuit against victims: The latest version of the Bagle mass mailer worm attempts to threaten potential victims by posing as a lawsuit against the recipient. Click here for more.
Slobodan Trojan poses as murder pics: Emails purporting to prove that the recently deceased former Yugoslav president Slobodan Milosevic was killed contain a malicious Trojan, called Dropper-FB. Click here for more.
Zombie PCs menace mankind: Cybercrooks are developing more sophisticated techniques to steal confidential data. Click here for more.
New safety net for web surfers: The result of their labours is a product called SiteAdvisor which labels particular websites with a colour-coded security rating to help users identify those that might contain spyware, spam, viruses, and online scams. Click here for more.
Cybersafety campaign for preschoolers launched: Parents have more to worry about than their child grazing their knee in the playground - they now should be concerned their toddlers are being kept "cybersafe" as well... Click here for more.
Perils of online dating prompt safety efforts: Some personal profiles on the Web site are frighteningly revealing. People publish their birth dates, schools they attend, even clubs they will frequent on a given Saturday night, complete with a cell phone number for whomever might care to join them. Click here for more.
No backdoor for Vista - MS: Microsoft's developers have stepped forward to dismiss suggestions that the next versions of Windows might feature backdoor features to allow police access... Click here for more.
Microsoft launches Web search engine: In its latest bid to catch up with rivals Google Inc. and Yahoo Inc., Microsoft Corp. is launching a revamped Internet search engine it says will help computer users find information faster, view it more easily and organize it better. Click here for more.
Hackers get Mac running Windows: Hackers have managed to get Microsoft's Windows XP operating system running on an Apple Mac computer. Click here for more.
Oklahoma city threatens to call FBI over 'renegade' Linux maker: The heartland turned vicious this week when an Oklahoma town threatened to call in the FBI because its web site was hacked by Linux maker Cent OS. Click here for more.
Google plans orbital mind control: Google is planning a SPECTRE-style operation co-ordinated from an extinct volcano aimed at the complete subjugation of humanity by means of "orbital mind control. Click here for more.
Mum's a junkie whore and dad got devoured: I just want some body that is old enough and honest to help me collect the £50Million from the bank as I am too young to take care of £50Million. Click here for more.
419er mugged by rubbers: How are doing an also running of your company, hopping all is wall. I received you mail that day about my application for job at weybrige, you know... Click here for more.
Historical spam subject lines
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14. 90% off Printing Press Cartridges! Works on all Gutenberg Models!
13. Earn up to 10 pence per fortnight knitting stockings at home!
12. You'll be mutinous if you don't check out these hot Tahitian babes on Bountycam!
11. Slice off the pounds with the Antoinette Cake Diet!
10. Ogg, Please Read: Name-Brand Berries for Your Cave Paintings!
9. Pleafe purchafe thefe golf ballf.
8. Ahoy! You're PREQUALIFIED for 10 pieces of silver from Blackbeard Lending!
7. Augmenteth Thy Codpiece!
6. Can't start smoking? We can help!
5. Buy Your OWN Island with NO TRINKETS DOWN!!
4. Strumpets, Harlots and Unrepentent Slatterns Desireth 2 Meet Thou!
3. URGENT ASSISTANCE NEEDED BY MRS. JULIUS CAESAR WITH 800,000 SESTERCES GOLD
2. Discount maile-order leeches delivered by plaine browne buggy to your home - without a barber's prescription!
and the Number 1 historical spam subject line...
1. URGENT VIRUS ALERT! Don't Open Your City Gates for Giant Wooden Horses!
Thanks again for reading the Actrix newsletter. Feedback can be sent to me via the e-mail address listed below. Please limit this to comments/suggestions regarding the newsletter. Non-forum requests for support should go to the Actrix Help Desk (email@example.com) or to the Accounts Department (firstname.lastname@example.org).