July '06 Topics
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"I have an almost religious zeal... not for technology per se, but for the Internet
which is for me, the nervous system of mother Earth, which I see as a living creature, linking up."
July '06 Topics
"Every day I get up and look through the Forbes list of the richest people in America. If I'm not there,
I go to work."
July '06 Topics
Pencil and paper /n./: an archaic information storage and transmission device that
works by depositing smears of graphite on bleached wood pulp. More recent developments in paper-based technology include
improved 'write-once' update devices which use tiny rolling heads similar to mouse balls to deposit coloured pigment.
All these devices require an operator skilled at so-called 'handwriting' technique.
July '06 Topics
July '06 Topics
This newsletter has been produced to help you
get the most out of the Internet,
Welcome to the latest Actrix customer newsletter. I hope there's something of interest to you this month, and that you're coping okay with the rain, the hail, the snow, and the incredible cold!
Web mail, where you log into a web site to send and receive e-mail, has been around for a long time, and there are many free web mail providers out there vying for your attention, each attempting to out-do the other in providing you with the most sublime online web mail experience.
Last month we looked at a few of the larger generic web mail providers out there (Hotmail, Yahoomail, GMail, NZoomail and Actrix web mail). This month we'll have a look at two or three that offer a more specialised service.
HUSHMAIL (www.hushmail.com )
Hushmail is specifically designed to appeal to those hyper sensitive about security. It works automatically with PGP (Pretty Good Privacy) if you have that installed, and if you don't (and if you don't know what PGP is, don't worry), it encrypts your e-mail anyway so that no one can read it in transit.
If you don't use PGP, and neither does your recipient, the system asks you for a question only you and the recipient will know the answer to. The recipient then receives an e-mail with your question in it. If they know the answer, they're taken to a secure web page which displays the message. They can also reply to the message from that page.
A simple password isn't enough when joining, either. Hushmail requires a pass phrase, and the seven-word sentence I used (with some capitalisation) was deemed only "moderately strong" by the site at signup.
SHARPMAIL (www.sharpmail.co.uk )
Sharpmail openly touts itself as a prank e-mail service. It has little value as a workable tool, but you can certainly have a lot of fun with it. You can send e-mails to anyone you like (or don't like) with a forged sender's name and e-mail address. Sharpmail would be a great way to send an e-mail from the boss to the guy in the next cubicle announcing that he's fired.
Replies to the e-mail will still come to your web-based Sharpmail account, even if the recipient has no idea who they're replying to.
There's a promotional blurb about the service automatically included at the bottom of each e-mail you send which makes it clear it's a fake e-mail, so the potential for deceptive harassment is limited, but this warning can be removed if you upgrade for £19/year.
You can still be traced by the information your PC hands over when you sign up, and the operators warn you that they will pass on details about you to the authorities if you use SharpMail for evil, so you're well-advised to keep your Sharpmail activities well within the bounds of good-natured fun.
At SharpMail, if prankish skills momentarily escape you, you can choose from a number of pre-set saucy or humorous templates (e.g. Re: your order of the Fancy Mandy inflatable love doll) to send to your unsuspecting victim.
If you come up with a particularly inspired prank e-mail of your own, you can offer it for inclusion on the template list.
Mailinator offers disposable e-mail addresses for one-time or short-term use. It's ideal for those times when you're asked for your e-mail address, but you're not sure you want to give your real one out. You Just make something up on the spot such as firstname.lastname@example.org, or email@example.com (though that's probably gone). Later, go to the site and check that account. It's that easy.
Mailinator accounts are created when mail arrives for them, so you donít need to sign-up or hand over any personal information. You can see the person's e-mail and choose to either respond to or ignore them.
Have you ever thought about getting yourself a domain name?
A domain name is the part that comes after the @ in an e-mail address, and after the www. in a web address. It's a pretty cool cyber-accessory, and if you haven't got one of your own, you might want to think about getting one.
You can have a domain name without having a web site to go with it, and getting one set up is easier, quicker and cheaper than you might have thought. Lots of people get domain names just to secure them in case they may want to use them in the future. At any stage you can start using your domain name for your e-mail address, and if you are ready for a web site one day, you're already set with the web address.
It's a real testament to your cyber-mojo when your e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org. If you're in business, it's much more professional and reassuring when you can e-mail your customers from email@example.com (instead of firstname.lastname@example.org). Creating one from your business name is also a good idea because it is recognisable and becomes part of your advertising.www.dnc.org.nz). Just put the domain name into the box, select the extension you require (.co.nz, .net.nz etc) and you'll instantly see whether it's been taken, and if it has, who it has been taken by.
To make things easier, Actrix provides the ability to check the availability of your desired domain name during the signup process, saving you the hassle of having to use the DNC site. You'll find a button you can click that will check the domain name's availability status for you.
A domain name's "bits"
The .nz part is technically called the first level domain. The .co, .net etc part is called the second level, and the part that you get to choose is called the third level, but we're only mentioning that for correctness. In this article we'll just refer to the end bits of a domain name as the extension.
Companies and businesses should use .co.nz for their domain names, but a lot of personal e-mail addresses also use this. If you or your company are into technical or Internet related stuff, you should probably use the .net.nz extension on your domain. A list of the available NZ extensions can be found in the table (right).
You're free to choose whatever extension you think is most appropriate for your domain name in most cases. Some extensions are moderated, however. You can't use .govt, .mil .cri or .iwi without special permission.
Getting your domain name
Actrix can secure your domain name for you in virtually no time at all. You can apply for one online at http://www.actrix.co.nz/webservices/domainnames.php (or just choose Domain Names under Web Services on our main menu). There's a $35 set up fee and the domain itself will cost you just $44.95 per year.
Actrix can also secure some overseas domains for you (.com, .net etc), but these tend to be more expensive, and anyway, you should be proud of the .nz in your e-mail address!
Using your domain for e-mail
When Actrix secures your domain name for you, part of the process is to automatically point all e-mail for that domain at the e-mail address you specify. For example, if I wanted to get the domain ratemyeditor.co.nz, I would specify to Actrix that I wanted all e-mail for that domain to go to email@example.com by default. Each time I check my editor mailbox, all mail to firstname.lastname@example.org would also turn up there. In effect I would now have two working e-mail addresses, all going to the same place. In fact I sort of have an unlimited number of e-mail addresses, because the default setting means that anything at all sent to @ratemyeditor.co.nz now comes to me via the editor mailbox.
Upon request, however, Actrix can create separate mail rules for your domain. I could have email@example.com to go to one of my employee's e-mail address, and firstname.lastname@example.org go to a different employee. The default would still be in place, so anything for my domain other than those two addresses would still come to me.
Getting your e-mail program to handle your new domain name is also a snap. If you just want to use your domain name e-mail address, all you have to do is change the reply address setting so that it has your new address in it. Your old e-mail address will still work, but every e-mail you send out will now come from your domain name e-mail address. If you want to set your mail program up so that you can choose which address to send from, you may need to create a new account in your settings. This will vary from program to program, but it is easy to do, and the Actrix help desk can talk you through it over the phone in just a minute or two (0800-228749).
So what are you waiting for? Head on over to the domain names sign-up form to check whether your new e-mail address is available, and then apply for it online. Your friends are all going to be really impressed!
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).
Ayisha writes: Hello Rob, For the last two days my computer is not showing any box to enter in web addresses. We have gotten around this by clicking on Google in our favourites list and then typing in a word/phrase most appropriate to the web address we intended to use - not ideal.
Also, I have noticed that in "Outlook Express" when I have clicked working online the icon comes on as though I am online but I am not hearing any phone connection. To ensure a connection I have hit the www symbol on my keyboard, which takes me to the Actrix home page, then I am offered to make a dial up connection which goes ahead. I am not sure what is wrong or if we have a virus. Any suggestions?
Hi Ayisha, Looks like you've somehow accidentally turned off your address bar. This is something that's pretty easy to restore. I assume you're using Internet Explorer. If not, the process is similar or the same in most browsers.
With Explorer open, click Tools in the menu along the top. In the drop down box, click Toolbars. Another box opens to the left. Click to make sure there is a tick next to Address Bar. That should restore your ability to enter web addresses. While you're there you can have a fiddle around with turning other toolbars on and off to see if there's anything else you might like to have or not have on permanent display.
The other problem with Outlook Express is just dependent on your settings. There's nothing here to indicate you have a virus. The online and offline mode button isn't really designed to connect or disconnect you to or from the Internet. Normally if you start Outlook Express, it should bring up the dialup connection box or start connecting you automatically.
If it disconnects you automatically after checking your mail, and you don't want that, you can go into Tools and then Options, and untick the box that says disconnect after sending and receiving.
If you click Send and Receive and you're not online, Outlook Express should automatically try and connect you again. If it doesn't, you may need to call the Actrix help desk on 0800-228749 and get them to go over your settings with you. There are a number of different options, and it would be best if someone were talking to you while preference settings were done.
I hope that helps.
Bert writes: Hello Rob Just a question. When I send a picture by e-mail to a friend, and let us assume it takes 30 seconds to send, if I then send it to two more friends that will also take 30 seconds each, that is 90 seconds in total. Now if I send it to the first friend with the other two as CC: will that take 30 or 90 seconds? I feel it will take 30 seconds, so I get three for the price of one, or not?
One more, a while ago I was downloading a program, and a message came up wanting me to disconnect as the modem has been idle for so long. Why is downloading being regarded as idle time?
The CC stuff is all handled at Actrix's end, so yes, if you use the CC field, it should take just 30 seconds to send three "30 second e-mails." You will indeed get three for the price of one!
Regarding download time: unfortunately, download speeds don't remain constant. Often things slow or halt the download such as modem freezes, busy servers or interruptions along the line somewhere. While the modem is paused because of these, it is in fact "idle" as no traffic is going back or forth. Technically you're still in the middle of a download, but the lack of traffic is detected and the disconnection message comes up. I hope that clarifies.
Glenis writes: Hi, I have a question I hope you can help me with. I have two email addresses, the main one, which I use most of the time, but also a sub/additional one I use occasionally. Why does my sub one only come through web mail? I only found these emails by accident. I would much prefer them all to come through my usual Outlook Express inbox. Please help.
Hi Glenis, If you have a second Actrix e-mail address, the chances are you now have two mailboxes to check. You need to set up your e-mail program so that it also checks this second mailbox. It's pretty easy to do this in Outlook Express.
With Outlook express open, click Tools and then Accounts. In the box that pops up, click Add and then Mail.
Now, when you open a new e-mail in Outlook express, you'll have a dropdown box at the top so that you can choose which e-mail address you want to send from.
Give Actrix a call on 0800-228749 if you need help getting your password, or if this doesn't work too well for you. I hope that helps.
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!
http://interact10ways.com/usa/information_interactive.htm - This just keeps going and gets deeper and deeper the further in you go. Each image is made up of many many smaller images which are also made up of smaller images. In fact no two lookers would ever see the same thing. Requires Flash (installed on most computers), but may take quite a while to load on dialup.
|Virtual colouring in
www.coloring.com/pictures/choose.cdc - Computers and the Internet have replaced so much in our ordinary lives, so why not colouring books as well? Choose your picture and click from the palette on the left to colour it. No mess, and no waxy crayons accidentally ground into the carpet.
|A history of useless inventions
www.designboom.com/history/useless.html - "'Chindogu' is the Japanese word coined for the art of the unuseless idea. Strangely practical and utterly eccentric inventions for a life of ease and hilarity have taken the land of the rising sun by storm. Meant to solve the niggling problems of modern life, these bizarre and logic-defying gadgets and gizmos have a tendency to fail completely." There's a further gallery at http://thenonist.com/index.php/weblog/permalink/chindogu/. I love the solar powered cigarette lighter!
|Found skulls of aliens
www.burlingtonnews.net/skulls.html - Here we have several pages of pictures and discussion around bizarre skulls that are reportedly from aliens or the abnormal who trace their lineage back to alien genes in the distant past. When you've had enough of the skulls, there's a similar page on giants at www.burlingtonnews.net/giants.html.
www.i-think.co.nz/ - We try to avoid advancing business interests in the Interesting Sites section. However, the Listener's "I Think" site is an interesting enough concept for inclusion. You get to drag the topics around and drop them in places on the chart to indicate how you rate them from interesting and topical to dated and tedious. It's interesting to see how the charts average out, and you are able then to see how your thoughts fit with the rest of New Zealand's.
|Top 10 retail rip-offs exposed
www.trampolinesales.com/ripoffs.htm - This list of the ten top ways sales-staff might dishonestly try to manipulate you into a purchase is found on a trampoline vender's web site (would you buy a used trampoline off this guy?). "Forewarned is forearmed; after reading this, you'll at least have a fighting chance to avoid being 'bit'."
|The English-to-12-Year-Old-AOLer Translator
http://ssshotaru.homestead.com/files/aolertranslator.html - This translator will take what you write in it and turn it into the manner a 12-year-old AOLer would write it. Type in what you want translated and then click the button. "Why didst thou promise such a beauteous day?" becomes "Y DIDST THOU PROMIES SUCH A BAUTEOUS DAY???!! WTF LOL."
http://roadsideamerica.com/set/SCIspots.html - What causes the mysterious goings-on in these mysterious places where things roll up hill and brooms stand up by themselves? Is it a time slowing down or a great beam of "high velocity soft electrons" exiting in the earth nearby? There are several around that are quite well-documented, it seems.
|Animal male, female and group names
www.enchantedlearning.com/subjects/animals/Animalbabies.shtml - We all know that a group of crows is called a murder, and that a baby coyote is called a whelp, but did you know that a baby platypus is called a "puggle", or that a group of apes is called a "shrewdness"? I wonder why?
|Create a graph
http://nces.ed.gov/nceskids/createagraph/index.asp - "Graphs and charts are great because they communicate information visually. For this reason, graphs are often used in newspapers, magazines and businesses around the world." Here you can choose from a number of templates, add your information, and specify your colours to build your own attractive graphs. More fun than grappling with Excel!
'Online cemetery' trialled in Waikato: At the click of a button, people with family members buried in south Waikato cemeteries will soon be able to find their relatives without leaving home. Click here for more.
Teachers concerned about online ratings: Teachers fear a new website asking students and parents to rate their effectiveness could be exploited by disgruntled students. Click here for more.
Telecom puts rivals on hold: It has been two weeks since Telecom chief executive Theresa Gattung promised that the company was changing its stripes but competitors say there has been no difference so far. Click here for more.
Te Ara can learn from Wiki: The second volume of New Zealand's official online encyclopaedia, Te Ara, will be put on the Web today by the Culture and Heritage Ministry. Click here for more.
Radio NZ puts more podcasts on its website: Radio New Zealand is making more of its programmes available in the form of podcasts as their popularity surges past 10,000 downloads a day. Click here for more.
The checks in the email: The next time you click "forward" on that hilarious email about your boss, be aware that Big Brother is watching, and he is not amused. Click here for more.
Telecom opts for voluntary separation: Following the model introduced by Britain's BT, Telecom won't wait for government regulation to impose a regime on the company but has instead voluntarily split the company into wholesale and retail arms. Click here for more.
The enemy within: terror by computer: Scott Borg, the director and chief economist of the US Cyber Consequences Unit, believes attacks on computer networks are poised to escalate to full-scale disasters that could bring down companies and kill people. Click here for more.
Google has no plan for its own browser: Google Inc. has no plans to build its own Web browser software to compete with rival Microsoft Corp., Chief Executive Eric Schmidt said on Wednesday. Click here for more.
UK silver surfers fastest growing internet users: People over 50, are the fastest growing age group on the internet in Britain and make up a quarter of users, according to a survey. Click here for more.
Does happiness live in cyberspace?: Is it possible that we can find friendship, fulfilment and contentment on the internet? Click here for more.
Companies snooping on employee e-mail: Big Brother is not only watching but he is also reading your e-mail. Click here for more.
Defeat for net neutrality backers: US politicians have rejected attempts to enshrine the principle of net neutrality in legislation. Click here for more.
The internet is in for big changes: "The internet is all perishable technology that going to get replaced or extended." Click here for more.
Chilly chip shatters speed record: A supercooled microchip capable of half a trillion calculations every second has been demonstrated in the US. Click here for more.
'Poor deal' for internet shoppers: Many internet firms in Europe are not treating customers fairly, according to a report from EU consumer bodies including the UK's Citizens Advice. Click here for more.
Web browsers getting facelifts: The major Web browsers are getting facelifts as they increasingly become the focal point for handling business transactions and running programs over the Internet rather than simply displaying Web sites. Click here for more.
Opera 9 Browser Provides a Little Drama: Opera Software today unveiled Opera 9, an update marked by "widgets" and the inclusion of the controversial BitTorrent file distribution system. Click here for more.
Study: Americans pick e-parks over real parks: Americans are less interested in spending time in natural surroundings like national parks because they are spending more time watching television, playing video games and surfing the Internet... Click here for more.
See the traffic from cyberspace: Ten million people were stuck in a "virtual" traffic jam over the weekend as they attempted to visit France from the comfort of their own computer screens. Click here for more.
Industry vows fight on child porn: Thousands of child pornography images will be collected into a database to prevent further distribution, a group of online companies has announced. Click here for more.
Symantec Patches Antivirus Vulnerability: Symantec said today it has fixed a vulnerability in its antivirus software suite that potentially could open a backdoor to hackers. Click here for more.
Three held over virus e-mail plot: Three computer experts have been arrested over an alleged international plot to spread viruses via e-mail. Click here for more.
IE, Firefox Users at Risk From New Flaws : New flaws considered 'less critical' by one group and 'hair raising' by another. Click here for more.
Woman targeted by web hackers: A woman from Greater Manchester has become a victim of an internet scam in which hackers hijack computer files and blackmail owners to get them back. Click here for more.
Extortion virus code gets cracked: Poor programming has allowed anti-virus companies to discover the password to retrieve the hijacked data inside a virus that has claimed at least one UK victim. Click here for more.
Net poses dangers for soccer fans: Many websites associated with teams playing in the tournament are infested with spyware and adware found security firm McAfee. Click here for more.
Internet predators lure teens: A sexual predator has been targeting Christchurch school children on the internet. Click here for more.
Microsoft product phones home every day: Oh didn't we mention that in the licence? Click here for more.
Bill Gates to step down from Microsoft: Chairman Bill Gates said Thursday he will transition out of a day-to-day role at the company he co-founded to spend more time on global health and education work at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Click here for more.
Windows on Mac is Virtually Possible: In Apple's recent TV campaign, a Mac user assures a hapless Windows user there's a place for him on the Mac. Click here for more.
Ubuntu 6.06 Review: A review of the latest Ubuntu release, code named "Dapper Drake", the long awaited Ubuntu 6.06. Click here for more.
Red Hat plants flag in NZ: Leading Linux developer Red Hat is establishing a direct presence in New Zealand and is on the hunt for a Kiwi to manage its business here. Click here for more.
Google develops browser sync tool for Firefox: In a boost to Mozilla, Google has created a tool that lets users synchronise the settings of their Firefox browsers across multiple computers. Click here for more.
Married maintenance man outed on Web site: Pamela Brown said she began dating Kudlik last year until she received an anonymous e-mail warning: "The man you're dating is not who he says he is." Click here for more.
Some possible computer bumper stickers:
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).