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February 07 Topics

littlebluearrow2.gif (882 bytes) Welcome to the February Actrix Online Informer!

littlebluearrow2.gif (882 bytes) Changing some basic browser settings

littlebluearrow2.gif (882 bytes) Spam facts 2006

littlebluearrow2.gif (882 bytes) Readers' forum

littlebluearrow2.gif (882 bytes) Interesting sites

littlebluearrow2.gif (882 bytes) Cyberspace news snippets

littlebluearrow2.gif (882 bytes) It was five years ago today...

littlebluearrow2.gif (882 bytes) Bringing it all back home




Past Articles

Individual articles from Past Actrix Online Informers are archived in alphabetical order.
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Past Actrix Online Informers

January 2007
December 2006
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December 1999
November 1999
October 1999







February 07 Topics

littlebluearrow2.gif (882 bytes) Welcome to the February Actrix Online Informer!

littlebluearrow2.gif (882 bytes) Changing some basic browser settings

littlebluearrow2.gif (882 bytes) Spam facts 2006

littlebluearrow2.gif (882 bytes) Readers' forum

littlebluearrow2.gif (882 bytes) Interesting sites

littlebluearrow2.gif (882 bytes) Cyberspace news snippets

littlebluearrow2.gif (882 bytes) It was five years ago today...

littlebluearrow2.gif (882 bytes) Bringing it all back home



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February 07 Topics

littlebluearrow2.gif (882 bytes) Welcome to the February Actrix Online Informer!

littlebluearrow2.gif (882 bytes) Changing some basic browser settings

littlebluearrow2.gif (882 bytes) Spam facts 2006

littlebluearrow2.gif (882 bytes) Readers' forum

littlebluearrow2.gif (882 bytes) Interesting sites

littlebluearrow2.gif (882 bytes) Cyberspace news snippets

littlebluearrow2.gif (882 bytes) It was five years ago today...

littlebluearrow2.gif (882 bytes) Bringing it all back home




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"You can't take something off the Internet - it's like trying to take pee out of a pool."
- Author Unknown, 1995




February 07 Topics

littlebluearrow2.gif (882 bytes) Welcome to the February Actrix Online Informer!

littlebluearrow2.gif (882 bytes) Changing some basic browser settings

littlebluearrow2.gif (882 bytes) Spam facts 2006

littlebluearrow2.gif (882 bytes) Readers' forum

littlebluearrow2.gif (882 bytes) Interesting sites

littlebluearrow2.gif (882 bytes) Cyberspace news snippets

littlebluearrow2.gif (882 bytes) It was five years ago today...

littlebluearrow2.gif (882 bytes) Bringing it all back home






"We're at the point now where the challenge isn't how to communicate effectively with e-mail, it's ensuring that you spend your time on the e-mail that matters most."
- Bill Gates




Essential Sites

Virus Myths

Get Virus Help

E-mail Hoaxes


Windows Update

How Stuff Works

Internet Movie



World Time Zones

Actrix Tolls

Actrix CyberJet


Urban Legends

Rules of Rugby

Web Design

Child Safety Online

NZ Info

NZ Legal Advice


Free Online
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Anything For You

Wise's NZ Maps

NZ Domain Names

NZ White Pages

NZ Yellow Pages

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Calling the
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February 07 Topics

littlebluearrow2.gif (882 bytes) Welcome to the February Actrix Online Informer!

littlebluearrow2.gif (882 bytes) Changing some basic browser settings

littlebluearrow2.gif (882 bytes) Spam facts 2006

littlebluearrow2.gif (882 bytes) Readers' forum

littlebluearrow2.gif (882 bytes) Interesting sites

littlebluearrow2.gif (882 bytes) Cyberspace news snippets

littlebluearrow2.gif (882 bytes) It was five years ago today...

littlebluearrow2.gif (882 bytes) Bringing it all back home




"Experience is that marvellous thing that enables you to recognise a mistake when you make it again."
- F. P. Jones
















































February 07 Topics

littlebluearrow2.gif (882 bytes) Welcome to the February Actrix Online Informer!

littlebluearrow2.gif (882 bytes) Changing some basic browser settings

littlebluearrow2.gif (882 bytes) Spam facts 2006

littlebluearrow2.gif (882 bytes) Readers' forum

littlebluearrow2.gif (882 bytes) Interesting sites

littlebluearrow2.gif (882 bytes) Cyberspace news snippets

littlebluearrow2.gif (882 bytes) It was five years ago today...

littlebluearrow2.gif (882 bytes) Bringing it all back home





























 Actrix Online Informer February 2007 

The Actrix Online Informer is published each to help keep Actrix customers up-to-date with what's happening on the Internet, and to help ensure they have every opportunity to benefit from it.

Questions and comments about the Actrix Online Informer can be e-mailed to
Other inquiries should be e-mailed to

Welcome to the February Actrix Online Informer! 

Your holidays are probably now over and you're back in the swing of things. We hope you had a good break and an enjoyable holiday time with friends and family.

It's business as usual once again for us as we do our utmost to bring you the best in terms of Internet products and services. So, welcome back to the new year and to the latest Actrix Online Informer! I hope there's something of interest for you this month.

Changing some basic browser settings 

Your browser is the program you use to view (or browse) web pages on the Internet. Most people use Internet Explorer because it is installed by default with Windows, though lots of people prefer non Microsoft browsers such as Opera or Mozilla's Firefox.

There's been a lot of competition in the browser field over the last few years, especially due to the rise of Firefox. A lot of people like this browser and it is really the first competitor to Internet Explorer that has made a few Microsoft people nervous. Internet Explorer used to claim 97-98 percent of market share, but estimates for Firefox use vary now between 12-20 percent.

Browsers like Firefox and Opera started to become popular for a number of reasons. A few years ago Opera hit the market claiming to be the fastest browser on earth, and its stripped down simplified nature certainly appeared to make it so. It still did everything an Internet surfer needed but with seemingly less fuss. It was also attractive because it was less prone to hacking attacks, and this was simply due to the fact that it used by less people. It wasn't worth a hacker's time to figure how to exploit it.

Opera is still used a fair bit, but Firefox is now the main alternative to Internet Explorer, and its popularity seems to be increasing all the time. A lot of people like it because it is open source and free, and just "not Microsoft". It also introduced a number of innovations such as tabbed browsing which real net-enthusiasts (who have lots of browser windows open at the same time) really liked. Tabbed browsing allows you to have just one copy of the program running with tabs for selecting between all the pages you have open. Until the latest version (IE7 now includes tabbed browsing) Internet Explorer made you open another copy of itself to achieve the same thing.

Interestingly, all three of the browsers under discussion at the moment are very similar when it comes to how to use them. If you use one, you'll have no trouble using a different one. This is partly because there has been so much competition and each browser copies the best aspects of its competitors.

In this article we'll cover a few of the basic functions behind the scenes in Internet Explorer 6 and in Firefox. We'll leave Opera out for the sake of space. It isn't a bad browser (I really like it) but it probably isn't used by a lot of Actrix customers.

Internet Explorer is installed by default on Windows machines. You can download Firefox from Some people worry that if they download and use Firefox it will delete or interrupt the way Internet Explorer works. This isn't the case. If you download and install Firefox, Internet Explorer won't be affected at all. In fact, you can use both browsers at the same time, and even have them visiting the same web pages concurrently.

Changing settings for each browser is reasonably straightforward. In Internet Explorer the settings are mainly found under Tools/Internet Options. In Firefox they're found under Tools/Options. For either browser this will bring up a box containing various groups of setting which can be altered. The groups of settings can be accessed by clicking the various tabs or page within the box.

For Internet Explorer 6 you should see: General, Security, Privacy, Content, Connections, Programs and Advanced. For Firefox you should see: General, Privacy, Content, Tabs, Downloads and Advanced.

Setting your homepage

This is probably one of the most basic functions. It determines which web page your browser automatically loads when you start it up. Both browsers allow you to type in the web address you would like, or to simply click the Current button to automatically insert whatever page the browser is currently at. Each browser also has a little picture of a house somewhere up in its toolbar. Clicking this will automatically take you back to your homepage at any time.

Default browser

When you first run Firefox (or any other new browser on a Windows machine), it will ask you if you would like to tick a box to make it the default browser. If you do, then Firefox will take over as the one that launches automatically when you click links. It's up to you whether you do this, but you may want to try Firefox for a bit before you accept it as the default. At any time you can make either Internet explorer 6 or Firefox you main browser. For Internet Explorer the setting is on the Programs tab (Internet Explorer should check to see whether it is the default browser). For Firefox it is on the General page (Firefox should check to see if it is the default browser when starting). If you tick this box in either case, then the next time the browser starts it will check whether it's the default, and ask you whether you would like to make it so.

Your browser history

Browsers are able to remember pages they've been to which is why they will often drop down a list of recently viewed pages when you start typing in a web address. You can set how long your browser will remember recently visited pages. While it is convenient to have pages remembered, especially if you're having difficulty remembering one you want to go back to, some people don't like having a record of their behaviour stored anywhere and will set the days of memory to zero. In Internet Explorer 6, set your history under the General tab of the Internet Options box. In Firefox, you'll find the setting under the History tab of the Options box. Both browsers also feature a button next to the setting allowing you to clear the history manually.

In both browsers you can turn a sidebar on and off that will show you your recent browsing history. Again, this can be handy for finding pages you have recently visited and want to see again. To turn this on in Firefox click View/Sidebar/History. In Internet Explorer 6 click View/Explorer Bar/History. When you've done this, simply click a page in the list to go to it.

Dealing with cookies

Cookies are little text files that many sites write to your hard drive so that they can read them again next time you visit. This is usually a good thing (but not always), and you can learn more about the ins and outs of cookies here. Both browsers allow you to view whatever cookies have been collected and to delete them all with a single mouse-click. Do this if you want (it won't do any real harm) but you may find sites you visit that remember things about you such as your name or preferences, will not recognise you next time back. You can also set your browser to refuse to accept cookies from websites. This isn't really recommended as many sites will then pester you or refuse to let you visit.

Internet Explorer 6 lets you deal with cookies under the General Tab. Firefox's cookies settings, which are more sophisticated and allow you a few more options, are found under the Cookies tab of the History page. I particularly like how Firefox allows to you set things so that all cookies are automatically deleted each time you close the program down - sort of the best of both worlds.

Cache control

To speed the loading of pages, your browser keeps what's called a cache (pronounced "kaysh", or less commonly - "cash"). When it is loading up web pages for you, it will save a lot of the images and things to do with the page in there. Next time it has to load the same page, it can grab the images out of its cache rather than having to download them all from the Internet again. 

You can change your cache settings in Internet Explorer by clicking the Settings button under Temporary Internet Files on the General tab. You can also use the slider bar set the size of your cache (the bigger you have it set, the more it can remember, but the more hard disk space it will absorb). There are also buttons there to let you view whatever files are in your cache. You can delete everything in it by clicking the Delete Files button back on the General tab next to the Settings button. There is no harm in this.

In Firefox, similar cache controls are found on the Cache tab of the General page of options, though it is less good at showing you the contents of your cache.

Just as a matter of interest, browsers also keep a RAM cache. They use a portion of memory to store Internet content in so that they can display it for you immediately. You'll see this when you click the Back button through a series of previous pages and they load without any waiting.

Colours and fonts

You may not have realised it, but you actually have a fair bit of control over the colour and font of the web pages you visit. When someone makes a web page, they will usually specify what font should be used and what size and colour it should be. If the designer hasn't specified font characteristics, your browser will display them according to whatever your own default settings are.

You can over-ride a designer's font specifications if you want, and this can be especially useful if you have difficulty reading small text or certain colours. In Firefox, go to the Content page of the Options box. There you will find fields in which you can choose default font and size. Under the Colors button you can play with background, text and link colours. Under the Advanced button (be a little more careful in here) you'll find a number of settings. Most of these aren't things to worry about, but the minimum font size might be important to some. If you're changing settings under the Colors or Advanced buttons, you will need to untick the box labelled "Allow pages to choose their own...".

In Internet Explorer 6 the choices are more limited, but some alterations to font size and colour can be made by clicking the Fonts and Colors buttons at the bottom of the General tab.

Both browsers allow you to make quick changes to text size on the fly if you need to, without having to go into the settings described above. Click the View menu at the top of either browser and then click Text Size in the dropdown menu.


Bookmarks are really handy. They allow you to visit pages you go to often with a single mouse-click. In Explorer, if you want to bookmark a page, click Favorites in the menu at the top of the page, and then Add to Favorites. If you just click Okay, the page will now appear in the dropdown list each time you click Favorites in the top menu. Click the Create in button to add folders if you would like to group your favourite pages in folders. You can make and label folders by clicking the New Folder button. Then when you click Favorites, rest your mouse over the folder's name, and all the links in it will pop out to the right.

There should be a Links folder there by default. This is a special folder and you can get any links you put in there to actually appear along the top of your browser on what's called a Links toolbar. To get the Links toolbar to appear, click View in the main menu, then Toolbars and then Links.

In Firefox it all works pretty much the same way. Click Bookmarks in the main menu, then Bookmark this page. Use the Create in field to assign it to a folder, and click the down arrow to the furthermost right to find a button allowing you to create a new folder if you need to.

To save links in a toolbar, choose the Bookmarks Toolbar folder which is there by default. To get the toolbar to display in your browser, click View/Toolbars/Toolbar folder.

Customising toolbars

If you had a look under the View menu for how to turn your Bookmarks/Favorites toolbar on, you will have noticed that you can also turn other toolbars on and off. Feel free to experiment here. If something important disappears you can put it back by returning a tick next to its label under View/Toolbars in either browser.

But there are also ways of customising your toolbars. You can add some buttons not installed by default, or remove some you don't use. You can also choose between having large or small buttons/icons displayed.

In Firefox this is particularly easy. Click View/Toolbars/Customize and simply drag buttons to or from between the toolbar at the top of your browser and the Customize Toolbar box. This is how you can add buttons allowing you to open new tabs or print, all at the click of a mouse. You can also choose what sort of display you want (single icons, text labels, or icons with text) and whether you want large or small icons.

In Explorer you also use View/Toolbars/Customize to find the toolbar settings. To add buttons, select them in the left box and click the arrow pointing right to move them to the toolbar. To remove buttons, click them on the right and use the arrow pointing left. There are dropdown fields at the bottom of the Customize Toolbars box that can be used to select icon size and labelling options.

If you get yourself in a bit of a mess playing around with your toolbars, you can always use the Reset button (Explorer) or Restore Default Set (Firefox) to return to 'factory settings'.

Clear private data

The last function I'd like to cover isn't available in Internet Explorer 6, though it is in both Firefox and Opera. Clearing private data is a function that allows you to quickly delete everything about your surfing that you may not want others to know about. It can remove records from your browser including its history, cookies and cache. To clear private data in Firefox just before you shut down, click Tools and then Clear private data. You can set what data is actually removed via the Tools/Options box. Choose the Privacy page and then the Cache tab. Down the bottom of this page there is a Settings button next to a sentence about the Clear Private data function. Click this to place a tick in the boxes corresponding to the information you'd like removed. You can also tick a box there to make Firefox do this automatically for you each time you shut down.

If you don't like this function because you believe there are times when you need to check on what others have been doing on your PC, there's not a lot you can do to prevent its use. If you need to check what your kids have been up to, for example, you may need to use a program such as Norton Internet Security which keeps an independent record of wherever your PC has been that can be password protected under the Administrator's account. Clearing private data in Firefox won't remove web history from that list.

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Spam facts 2006 

For those interested, we've included a very pretty graph providing a little information about the amounts of spam and legitimate e-mail that has travelled through the Actrix mail servers between April and December 2006.

Some interpretation and comments

The graph provides a basic picture of how our mail servers got progressively busier as the global spam volume burgeoned. Around October, the amount of spam mail passing through the filters and being delivered to customers (making it into the green) began to noticeably increase as the spam levels got out of control, and the spammers tactics were evolving faster than the filters could adapt.

In November, Actrix employed new cutting edge measures to severely limit spam before it makes it to the filtering system. This has drastically reduced the overall volume of spam making it past the first gate. By association this has reduced the overall amount of mail making it through to customers due to the reduced amount of spam evading filtration.

Of course this new technique, like any other, will eventually be outwitted by the spammers. Whilst it is highly effective at the moment, it will only be a matter of time before more and more spambot armies are able to evade this countermeasure. In the meantime the Actrix techs will continue to work their magic and perform all sorts of dark arts to keep the spam volume reaching customers to an absolute minimum.


Readers' forum 

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 (


Lois writes: Hi Rob, I have a message that keeps on duplicating when it is being received. How do I stop this process and just receive the message once? Other mail is not being received because of this "jam" in the system.

Hi Lois, Sometimes people will send e-mails that are quite large, and these can take a long time to download on a dial-up connection. Sometimes they just don't seem to be able to make it all the way through a download. This can be annoying since the large e-mail will block the messages that come in after it, and every time you go to download mail you get the same big one all over again and nothing that is behind it.

When that happens you can log in to Actrix Webmail which gives you access to everything in your mailbox all at once. You can check who sent the big one and decide if it's worth downloading. If not, you can delete the e-mail from your mailbox with-out having to wait for it to be downloaded first.

From the Actrix homepage ( log in to My Actrix using your Actrix username and password. Then click on the Webmail link. You should then see a preview of everything in your mailbox. If you want to delete a message simply put a tick in the box next to it (just to the left) and then click on the delete button. I Hope that helps.


Brian writes: Hi Rob, We have just opened a real can of worms by purchasing a second home computer (a laptop) while one alone was happy taxing my grey (power) matter. 1. Is there an easy way to transfer my Outlook Express address book from the desk top to the lap top? 2. When an email is opened in one computer is there any way it can be read by the other computer? Cheers, Brian.

Hi Brian, If both computers are running Windows XP, you can use the Files and Settings Transfer (FAST) wizard to transfer both files and settings for Outlook Express from one computer to another. The wizard creates a single compressed copy of your entire Outlook Express Identity, including your mail and news folders, your account settings, your custom views, custom toolbars and all other user settings. You run the wizard on your old computer to create the file, burn the file to CD, then run the wizard again on the new computer and point it to your transfer file.

It's too long a process to go to in great depth in the Online Informer, but there are guides online as to how to do this. There is, for example, an illustrated guide to using the FAST wizard with screen shots of each step here:

If you do not have access to a Windows XP setup CD, you can still transfer your Outlook Express by using one of the several backup approaches. You just back up on the old computer and then restore the backup copy on the new computer. You can find some Microsoft support on this here:

As far as your second question goes, with normal settings, once you have downloaded an e-mail from the mail server, it can only be viewed on the computer it was downloaded to. You can, however, set both computers to leave e-mails on the server. This will stop them being deleted when one computer downloads them. They will still appear as new to the other computer which can also then download them.

For each computer:

  1. Open Outlook Express and click Tools/Accounts.
  2. Make sure the Mail tab is selected and your account is highlighted in blue.
  3. Click the Properties button to the right and then go to the Advanced tab.
  4. Place a tick in the box labelled "Leave a copy of messages on server.

I hope that helps a bit.

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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!

Double-tongued word wrester dictionary - Reshop, chicken head, death by a thousand paper cuts: "The Double-Tongued Dictionary records undocumented or under-documented words from the fringes of English. It focuses upon slang, jargon, and other niche categories which include new, foreign, hybrid, archaic, obsolete, and rare words."
The strangest photos of 2006 - The WFTV website brings you this collection of amazing photos from news and features stories of 2006. Subjects include an 87,500 square foot version of the new KFC icon, Colonel Sanders in the Nevada Desert and a three-year-old boy trapped inside a stuffed animal vending machine. Don't worry, he was safely rescued.
100 things we didn't know this time last year - It's possible for a human to blow up balloons via the ear. The Queen has never been on a computer. In America it's possible to subpoena a dog... and 97 more interesting new factoids.
Weird book titles
- Stranger than fiction indeed! This small collection of eleven book titles also features pictures of the covers. Most are just odd, but one or two have some mild sexual innuendo associated with them.
This day in music - There is no end to the interesting stuff to learn about music and musicians on this web page. The homepage features the day's date and a list of milestones or events that occurred in music on this date over the years. However, the left-hand column is filled with links to all sorts of interesting information such as Things you didn't know, I was working as, best-of lists and much much more.
10 minute e-mail address - This e-mail address will self-destruct in 10 minutes. "Why would you use this? Maybe you want to sign up for a site which requires that you provide an e-mail address to send a validation e-mail to. And maybe you don't want to give up your real e-mail address and end up on a bunch of spam lists. This is nice and disposable. And it's free!"
2006 end of year Google zeitgeist - Once again, Google's end-of-year Zeitgeist is out. It summarises a year's worth of Internet searches and provides an insight into our global conciousness, the trends of thought or feeling characteristic of our particular period of time. It alsways makes for interesting reading, though I'm always surprised at what everyone else is so interested in.
Addictive little online games - Okay, so they're not up to what you'd get playing with a X box PlayStation or Wii, but sometimes simplicity is good. Most games have very little in the way of rules or concepts to master, so they're great for wasting a few spare minutes. I really enjoyed Line Rider, though I have to admit it brought out the cruel streak in me!
200 calories; a pictorial - Here's an interesting site for the weight-conscious. See side by side what 200 calories looks like in all sorts of different foods. It's quite an eye-opener!
The world's tallest website - I'm not completely sure what the point of it is, but the site is claimed to be nearly 19 kilometres high. That's a fair bit of scrolling, but there's not much offered in terms of scenery while you do. Its an experiment in web design, and apparently reveals some interesting browsing behaviour.


Cyberspace news snippets

New Zealand

Rate your boss on website: New Zealanders now have a chance to let everyone know exactly what they think of their boss - a website has been set up allowing employees to post their feelings on the Internet. Click here for more.

Kiwis lead net use but quiet on phones: According to the United Nations 2006 Human Development report, Kiwis use the internet more than anyone else, with 78 per cent going online. Click here for more.

Canterbury woman joins host of internet hosts: It is all part of a burgeoning global network linking travellers looking for a free place to stay and people willing to host them. Click here for more.

Rate your boss - and risk the sack: Slagging off a boss or teacher on rating websites could lead to court action, sackings or suspensions from school, warn legal experts. Click here for more.

Email pioneer Pegasus has its wings clipped: A small New Zealand software company that has carried free email messages for millions of people around the world is folding its service. Click here for more.

'The internet in your pocket' but not for Kiwis: New Zealanders will be kept waiting for Apple's newest gadget, the iPhone, which is tipped to revolutionise personal communication. Click here for more.

Romantic email likely just a stunt: An email about a love-at-first-sight experience circulating through email inboxes around the Canterbury region has many wondering whether the content is true love, or a clever marketing ploy. Click here for more.


YouTube helps police find murder suspect: The video, which showed suspects arriving at a local nightclub for a Sean Price hip-hop concert, garnered media attention and was viewed more than 30,000 times. Click here for more.

Online sites offer help for holiday grief: As excitement over the holidays builds so does the dread for millions of people grieving loved ones, sparking a rush to websites offering advice on how to cope with what can be a blizzard of emotions. Click here for more.

Spam surge drives net crime spree: The tussle between computer security companies trying to protect your PC and the bad guys that try to compromise it is often characterised as an arms race. Click here for more.

How the net changed the ancient art of the con: As well as creating new forms of criminal activity, such as spamming, the rising importance of computer networks has witnessed many forms of traditional crime reappearing under slightly different guises. Click here for more.

Personal doesn't mean private online: People who blog and use social-networking and video sites are realising just how public those spaces can be. Click here for more.

Taunting the scammers: With the authorities struggling to keep tabs on the interminable barrage of internet scams, a group of tech-savvy Australian vigilantes decided to take the law into their own hands. Click here for more.

Re-writing the rules of online ID: Bill Thompson discovers that forgetting a password might be an opportunity for reinventing yourself. Click here for more.

E-Commerce Spending Off The Charts: American consumers bought into e-commerce in a big way during 2006, as online retail spending eclipsed $100 billion for the first time. Click here for more.

Deluge of spam likely to worsen: People tired of e-mail delays can expect more of the same this year, as spam continues to play havoc. Click here for more.

Tnx u won't do, say etiquette experts: "E-mail has become an alternative way to send a thank you and you can see how text messaging could be considered another avenue," says author of three etiquette books. Click here for more.

Mystery drop in fraud and spam: Spam levels suddenly dropped 30 per cent last week, according to managed security firm SoftScan, which attributes the let-up to a "broken" botnet. Click here for more.

Music industry threatens ISPs over file sharing: The music industry has opened up a new front in the war on online music piracy, threatening to sue internet service providers that allow customers to illegally share copyrighted tracks over their networks. Click here for more.

Digital music sales skyrocket: Global digital music sales almost doubled in 2006 to around $2 billion, or 10% of all sales, but have not yet reached the industry's "holy grail" of offsetting the fall in CD sales, a trade organisation said. Click here for more.

Did Christmas PCs Scare Spam?: A managed security vendor has noticed a significant drop in spam in recent weeks, which it theorised could be due to many old, infected computers being replaced by shiny new systems given as Christmas presents. Click here for more.

Internet Dating 2.0: After typing in all manner of personal information (okay, I fudged on my weight), I hit the send button with a certain trepidation. I watched in horror as my instant background check appeared before the gathered group of onlookers... Click here for more.

China net use may soon surpass US: China could soon overtake the US to have the world's largest number of internet users, according to a state-controlled think-tank. Click here for more.

Americans think illegal downloading no big deal: Most Americans regard the illegal downloading and distributing of Hollywood movies as something on par with minor parking offenses, according to a report issued yesterday. Click here for more.

Security and Safety

Security bug found in PDF reader: Web users are being urged to upgrade their Adobe reader software as a security flaw is found in older versions of the program. Click here for more.

FBI warns of assassin spam scam twist: The FBI is warning of a new twist in the saga of scam emails that suggest a "hitman" is on the trail of the recipients. Click here for more.

Jury to Phisher: You've Got Prison Time: Jeffrey Brett Goodin has become the first person convicted by a jury for launching a phishing attack aimed at America Online (AOL) users. Click here for more.

Parental Controls Don't Save MySpace: Just a day after announcing new monitoring software, MySpace and its parent company News Corp. were sued for fraud and negligence by four families who say their teen daughters were assaulted by adult members of the social-networking site. Click here for more.

Criminals 'may overwhelm the web': Criminals controlling millions of personal computers are threatening the internet's future, experts have warned. Click here for more.

Viral News

Happy New Malware: A significant worm outbreak over the new year festivities has put paid to the notion we've seen the end of mass mailing worms just yet. Click here for more.

Mainly Microsoft

Microsoft to make Vista available online: Microsoft Corp. will make its new Windows Vista operating system available for sale and download online, marking a new step for the software company, which has previously sold Windows only on packaged discs or pre-loaded on computers. Click here for more.

Apple Mac News

Unpatched bug bites QuickTime: The vulnerability - which affects both Windows and Mac OS X PCs - is the first to be published as part of the "Month of Apple Bugs" project... Click here for more.

Unix, Linux and Open Source

Browsing, Open Source and Litigious Affairs: Looking Back: Reviewing the highlights of open source trends from 2006 has to start with one day in November. Click here for more.

Linux Tackles Old Foes With New Tools: This year will mark the birth of a new GPL and a new flagship enterprise Linux distribution from the current enterprise Linux leader, Red Hat. Click here for more.

Open source gets European boost: A European Commission report says that organisations who switch to open source software could make considerable savings. Click here for more.

The Weird, Weird Web

419ers check into Priory of Sion: It's good to see that, after a temporary lull in which the Lads from Lagos seems to have been suffering a creativity crisis, the inventive 419 email is back with a bang. Try this strange offering... Click here for more.

It was five years ago today...

Each month we dredge through our archives to pull out stories from the Actrix Newsletter of exactly five years ago. Sometimes these stories will show just how much the net has changed in such a short time, and sometimes they'll be included just because they're interesting.

Hackers set sights on home PC users: Computer hackers, once satisfied to test their skills on large companies, are turning their sights on home computers that are faster, more powerful and less secure than ever before. The hackers can steal your identity, destroy your data or use your computer to launch attacks on websites or your friends. Click here for more.

Top Ten Viruses Reported To Sophos In December 2001: Sophos, a world leader in corporate anti-virus protection, today released the latest in a series of monthly charts counting down the ten most frequently occurring viruses. Click here for more.

Blonde MD auctions hand in marriage: The reserve price she set has already been met, so publicity or not she still has to marry some loser who can't get it together in the real world. Click here for more.


Bringing it all back home

Thanks again for reading the Actrix Online Informer. 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 ( or to the Accounts Department (

Take care through February!

Rob Zorn