December 2007 Topics  









    Past articles  









    Past Online Informers  









    December 2007 Topics  









    Actrix contact info  









    Essential sites  














    December 2007 Topics  
















    Quote of the month  

"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."

- Dan Millman, self help author and philosopher










    December 2007 Topics  















The Actrix Online Informer is published each month 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

Actrix - New Zealand's first Internet Service Provider

Welcome to the December Actrix Online Informer!

Welcome to the December Actrix Online Informer.

I hope this issue finds you well, and that things are starting to gently wind down where you are. We should get another Informer out before the end of the year, and we'll wish you all the best for the holiday season then. It's been a good year for Actrix, and we hope it's been a good one for you too.

Congratulations to the following people who signed up to CA Security Suite and won a copy of NZ Monopoly Here and Now, the special Actrix Edition.

  • Sonia from Gore
  • Neil from Hamilton
  • Rachel from Palmerston North

Rob Zorn

And its goodbye from him... 

There are some things you just can't imagine ever happening. One of those would have been Dave Harding-Shaw leaving Actrix. Sadly, however, Dave will soon be moving to greener shores (well even more mountainous ones, anyway) and worked his last day on 23 November.

Dave has been with Actrix since way back in the early 90s when he was just a lad. In fact, I first came across him about then when, as an Actrix customer, I brought my computer in to have it looked at by the help desk (it was a small company, and you could do that in those days). This tall teenager sauntered in with green hair in the tallest punk-spikes I had ever seen. I think he was dragging an enormous skateboard behind him at the time.

These days he's traded the skateboard for several other vehicles, all of which go fast, but now he's leaving all that behind to devote himself to his other great passion – mountain-biking. He and Anna are off to Bolivia where he'll work as a guide to tourists, leading them through some of the most dangerous trails in the world. I can't imagine a job for which he would be better suited.

Actrix has grown a hundredfold or more since those early days, and Dave has always been in the middle of everything. In the words of our General Manager, George Reedy, he has made significant contributions to the success of the company. His knowledge, passion and support for everything will be hard to replace.

As a senior manager, Dave has been responsible for product development, customer services and business sales. He's led the implementation of our strategy for excellence in customer care and his dedication to high standards as been a big part of why we now excel in that area. He has also managed our communications with customers, upgraded our tolls offering, represented the company at forums dealing with Telecom, and dressed up as a skeleton for our last Friday 13th work gathering.

I know many customers have had dealings with Dave over the years, too, and will be sorry to see him go. If you want to wish him well, feel free to drop him a line at

And you never know; he may be back one day.

So Dave, tally ho, old boy, and look after yourself. We have no doubt you'll quickly make a lots of new friends over in South America (especially once you've learned the local word for beer) but whatever you do, don't forget your friends back here in God's Own.

Awesome Christmas presents 

So, it's that time of year again. All those Christmas presents to buy, and so little time to think and find inspiration. Well don't despair. There are heaps of websites out there to help you find the perfect gift, even for those friends and loved ones who already seem to have everything. I thought I'd round up a few of what I think are the most interesting (and if my friends and loved ones are reading, these are things I would like!). Check the websites for many, many more. All you need is a credit card and an internet connection!

Remote-controlled lederhosen
"It's been a long and almost unbearable wait. For years, possibly even decades, the world's brightest minds have been racking their brains to find a way to create a remote controlled pair of trousers. You may think that this might not have been a good use of their time, but you'd be wrong. Combining quantum mechanics and nano-technology, or more likely neither, minds immeasurably superior to ours have cracked it - or possibly just cracked, and at last the world has been enriched with remote controlled lederhosen. Not only do these ludicrous trousers hop about in a suitably laughable manner (just in case they weren't laughable enough anyway), they also, of course, yodel. They come with a frankfurter control that doesn't control them much, and even have traditional Bavarian details on the seams and pockets! You can check this by buying the book entitled Traditional Bavarian Details found on the seams and pockets of automated Lederhosen - though surprisingly it's yet to be translated into English. If ever we needed proof that mankind is capable of making miraculous technical advances, then surely these remote controlled lederhosen are just that. There's hope for us yet."

I Want One of Those:

Crazy golf balls
"When you want to annoy the knickers off someone who takes golf too seriously, these ludicrous balls will do the trick nicely. The set comprises four balls, each of which does something stupid when you hit it.

The Exploder, shown in the picture, blows up into a spectacular cloud of billowing white dust. The Phantom basically vanishes on impact into a watery mist. The Jet Streamer ejects 15 feet of spiralling streaming ribbon when thwacked, and the Unputtaball simply won't go in a straight line on the green - however you hit it, it wobbles all over the place.

Four great little one-hit wonders to liven up your next round."

I Want One of Those:
USB cup warmer
"Why is it that a really good cuppa always seems to cool at 10 times the normal rate when you're working at your computer? It's really very annoying. Well at last there's a suitably techie solution in the USB cup warmer. Simply plug this little gadget into your USB port, pop your cuppa on the hot plate, and it'll extend your drinking time by up to 30 minutes - bliss.

Features include: USB-powered hot plate, temperature of hot drinks can be maintained at 40 degrees after an hour, DC to USB cable, powered via USB from your PC or Mac, low voltage, no driver installation required, size 12 x 12 x 12 cm.

This product is not a toy, keep out of reach of children. This is an electrical item so don't get all splash happy near it. The hot plate gets hot, obviously, so be careful not to burn yourself. Cannot be used with plastic cups."

I Want One of Those:

Flashing hair braids

I had to include this one to ward off charges that this list was becoming a bit 'blokey'.

Looking for a fun thing to wear to the Christmas Party? Or perhaps you just want to be the fashion envy of all your friends. These flashing hair braids will certainly make sure you stand out from the crowd. They come with seven super bright LED lights and a hairclip to make fitting a breeze.

Pretty cool, really. I wish I still had some hair.

Neat Gadgets:

"When you place the iDog in front of speakers or plug it into any hand-held music player, its face lights up and it moves its head and ears. There are seven LED lights in different colours on its face which flash in rhythm to the music.

It is compatible with most portable music devices such as Discman, iPod, or Rio MP3 players. iDog can sense your touch - when you touch it at different part of its body, it tells you if it is happy or not. The LED lights also express it's emotion. Its face can sense light so when it is playing music and you shade its face with your hand the rhythm will change. It composes and plays wonderful music that vary with it's different moods.

iDog can remember up to 70 songs. Feed it with sounds when it is hungry! It loves any sort of sounds and all it needs to rock is 2 AA batteries (not included)."

Neat Gadgets:

Digger the dog
Exclusive to the Present Finder and one of our best sellers - this is the ultimate aristocratic gnome and a wonderfully silly present! Life size back half of a Jack Russell terrier busy digging up the lawn or use it as a door stop. Made of high quality resin, it is fully frost and weather proof. We love it so much we use it as our logo! Height to tail: 25cm.
These diggers were first made by the famous Jonathan Eaton who invented the concept of the digging dog (and many other wacky presents)."

Present Finder:

Remote control furry tarantula with light-up eyes
"Give your friends a real fright with this super scary life-like Mexican red-knee tarantula. This creepy crawly spider, with light-up eyes and a furry texture, can scurry across any flat, smooth surface with spider-like leg movement. For a truly scary effect, flash the light-up eyes, rotate a full 360 degrees, and send the spider scurrying under the couch!
Requires 2 "AAA" and 2 "AA" batteries (sold separately). Measures 18cm (7") long.

Present Finder:

Twirling spaghetti fork
This is just one of those gizmos that once you've tried, you'll wonder how you ever coped without it! Spaghetti twirling has, until now, been a traumatic and messy affair for many (recent medical research has revealed twirling spaghetti by manual means to be Italy's no1 cause of arthritis of the wrist!). Well not any more folks! This twirling spaghetti fork, fun and easy to use, reels your pasta in at a manageable rate for a more satisfying mouthful - less mess more fun! Requires 2 x AAA Batteries (not included). Colours may vary."

Present Finder:

Inflatable sumo costume
"This air blown inflatable sumo costume is a fun and very easy way to dress up! It's so easy to inflate your sumo costume - just step inside the costume, clip your battery belt clip and turn on the fan, then zip up the costume and it inflates in seconds and that's it other than putting on your wig! This costume has been designed to take all the pain and dilemma over what to dress up as for a fancy dress party. Your precious time is also not wasted may the fattest sumo win!"


Crazy desktop golf set
"It might bring back memories of beach holidays with deck chairs and overcast weather, but now you can play Crazy Golf all year round from the comfort of your own desk. The Desktop Mini Golf Set recreates the fun of the seaside and brings it back to home or the workplace. You get five obstacles to test your skill and putting power. Each can be set up differently to provide a more challenging course for every attempt. You even get to putters and two balls, so you can challenge your colleagues to a crazy golf championship. Playing 18 holes of golf at your desk might prove difficult so this Mini Desktop Golf might prove just thing to test your putting prowess against the annoying colleague that walks in the office every Monday morning boasting of how he shot 4 birdies on the back 9."


Finger drum kit
"Are you constantly tapping your fingers on the desk, clicking a pen, drumming a tin lid or slapping your legs. This miniature but genuinely life-like finger-sized drum kit lets you express your musical passion in a way that will either get people to join in or ask you to leave the building. The super finger-sensitive tiny drums include large and small tom-tom, bass drum with foot pedal, snare and cymbal, so there's nothing missing. And even better, you can record what you create and play it back time after time. It's a highly addictive little item. So if you're a drummer or percussionist who gets his or her best inspiration when you're nowhere near a drum kit, this is the perfect solution."


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The seven bad email habits that make people want to kill you 

Here is a seven-point summary on how to deal better with email. Please click here for the full article by Scott H Young which has a lot more information, including some suggestions for overcoming your email shortcomings.

  1. Hanging questions
    Leaving small requests questions completely unanswered so that the sender has no idea whether you even read the message yet.
  2. Buried requests
    A buried request is where the question or actionable information is sandwiched between unimportant info.
  3. Wrong medium
    Conversations, discussions or anything requiring a heavy amount of back-and-forth should be done on the phone or in person.
  4. Trying to be too clever
    Don’t try to be witty or sarcastic in an e-mail. Instead, act as if everything you say will be taken literally.
  5. Sending urgent requests
    My guideline is that I shouldn’t send an e-mail if I need a response in less than five days.
  6. Bulky paragraphs
    People don’t read e-mails, they skim. So don’t write an eight sentence paragraph in one chunk.
  7. Playing email tag
    Don't try to keep your inbox open to receive e-mails immediately as they arrive. Set times each day to answer and keep yourself to those limits.

Readers' forum 

If you'd like to ask a question or request some help on any Actrix or Internet-related matter. Simply send us 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 (


Jenny writes: Over the past few weeks I have had major problems with sending emails to people using Xtra as their provider. Sometimes they are received, but it is very spasmodic. Needless to say this is very frustrating. The messages appear to be sent - no non-delivery messages. Are you able to explain what the problem is?

Hi Jenny, What's happening is that some legitimate emails are being filtered off into the Xtra recipient's spam folder. If the Xtra recipient doesn't know to check that folder regularly, they may be missing a fair bit of legitimate mail. Xtra customers affected by this issue should be able to access these messages from their Spam folder. Alternately they can add your e-mail address to a list of approved senders to prevent legitimate messages being marked as Spam. It's not something we can do for them, but they should go to,,15013,00.html for Xtra's instructions on how to add an email address to a list of approved senders.

Xtra is aware of the issue and has referred all queries regarding email and spam filtering to Yahoo! Unfortunately Actrix is yet to receive any response from Yahoo! regarding this issue. We will continue to contact them until it has been resolved. The Internet Service Providers Association of New Zealand (ISPANZ) is also aware of the issue and Actrix is working with ISPANZ to find a resolution that will restore full email service between ISPANZ members and Xtra / Yahoo! customers.

For your/their convenience, here are the relevant questions and answers from the Xtra page on this issue.

Q. Email I was expecting is missing, what has happened to it?
A. We [Xtra] are currently experiencing problems with some legitimate emails being classified as spam and are working to resolve these as quickly as possible. We do apologise for the inconvenience this may have caused you. We are aware that some customers are finding some their email messages in their Spam folder on webmail. Please check your Spam folder on webmail to see if any of your legitimate emails are in this folder. We are working on fixing this problem as quickly as possible.

Q. Many legitimate emails are going straight into the Spam inbox. How can I change this?
A. If you believe that you have legitimate emails being delivered to your SPAM inbox then we suggest you access your spam folder via webmail (you will need to register for Yahoo!Xtra Bubble to access webmail) and then mark any legitimate emails as 'Not Spam'. This will ensure that any emails from this sender in the future will be delivered to your inbox.

I hope that sheds some light on things.


Kevin writes: I'm using PowerDVD software to watch DVDs on my laptop. Unfortunately, an update to the software seems to have limited it to playing DVDs from only one region. As I have DVDs from both regions 2 and 4, this is a bit limiting. Is there anything I can do to undo these changes, or do you know of any other (inexpensive) software that would allow playing DVDs from multi-regions?

Hi Kevin, There are a number of free DVD players out there that ignore region coding. You could use Google to search for one, or put DVD player into the search box at (a large repository of free software) and see what you get. I also asked our help desk guys whether they had any recommendations:

Rhys: I personally use a little program called DVD43. It sits in the system tray and removes the region settings (and decrypts) on the fly. So you could keep using PowerDVD to play your DVDs. Also check out as it has a few other tools in case DVD43 doesn't work out.

Damian: It's not so much the DVD software limiting the playing of different regions, but the DVD drive itself. You are traditionally limited to changing the region code so many times before the last change becomes permanent. On PowerDVD and Windows, when you change between the zones, it warns you about this and I think it even counts down the amount of changes left.

It is possible to reflash some DVD drives but I don't know how successful that is these days with newer drives. However, there is some software out there that can bypass the restriction. See but it's about US $39.95 if you want to buy it (there's a 'lite' version that is cheaper but only plays for a few minutes).


Paul writes, Hi Rob, this may be of interest to readers of the Online Informer. Belarc Advisor will analyse your computer's operating system (OS), processor, system make/model, drives, display adaptors, printer/s among other (tech) things and create a report in your browser. The report details your virus protection and version, your network connection, IP address plus details and software keys for OS and installed programs. Checks your OS version and if Microsoft will advise if security patches are up to date. Is a freebie and the file download is 1.42MB. Handy to have all this info in one place., Cheers, Paul

Thanks Paul. I've not used the program myself, but I have heard from others that it is pretty good, especially for getting an idea on why your computer might be behaving as if it were a little sick. -Ed.


Dave writes: I am thinking of taking up the Actrix broadband, $27.95 offer but please explain, what is meant by the term ”when bundled with Actrix Tolls”. Our tolls, both national and international, are currently with Telecom.

Brian Dennehy, from the Actrix Help Desk responds: Hi Dave, Thanks for your inquiry. "When bundled with Actrix Tolls" simply means that if you sign up for CyberJet as well as Actrix Tolls, then $27.95 is the discounted price of the plan. Without signing up for Actrix Tolls, the plan is $37.95. In other words, bundling the CyberJet plan with the Actrix Tolls service gives you a $10.00 discount on your CyberJet plan per month, and means that your toll calls will go via Actrix in future, rather than via Telecom. Please note, though, that you don't have to change your phone or number or anything. It's something that happens automatically as part of the process after you sign up to the bundled deal.

For a full list of the different plans that we have for CyberJet, please visit this link:

Also, for a list of our different Toll calling rates, please visit this link:

Hopefully that makes things clearer. Regards, Brian.


Another Paul writes: Here's an interesting site: Unit Converter -

Thanks Paul, I've added it to the Essential Sites section appearing to the left of each Actrix Online Informer. -Ed.

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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!

Moving movie moments for men -
Woman: "Are YOU crying?"
Man: "Sniff; no, no, I just got some of this, ah, zesty popcorn powder in my eye. Uh, yeah. I'll be fine."
Here are 25 movie moments that could make men cry. Click on individuals in the array of small pictures for each one. There's a large image for each, as well as a description of the scene. For those men really out of touch with their feelings, there's even an explanation of why they should feel choked up.
Ye olde English sayings - Thanks Matt, for suggesting this one. Here you'll find a whole lot of reported origins for common English expressions such as "son of a gun", "turning the tables", and "eating humble pie". The site is open for comments, and lots of people write in challenging some of the origins or suggesting alternatives. This adds interest, but also suggests you should take what you read here with a "grain of salt".
Donate rice with your vocabulary - Here's a great quiz type site for people who enjoy words, or reckon they have a pretty good vocabulary. You're given an almost endless series of multiple choice questions about word meanings, and some are pretty difficult. Each time you correctly guess the meaning of a word, the site, via its advertisers, will donate ten grains of rice to the world's hungry. There's an FAQ page that explains how the system works.
The Last Supper in detail - Many of us may never get to see The Last Supper in our lifetimes, but this sort of web-programming means we can at least get to see it close up and in great detail! It takes a while to load, and may be a struggle on dialup, but once it's all there, slide the viewer over the image to look at the painting really close up. Zoom in or out as much as you want. And if you want more on some new codes and puzzles reportedly found within the painting, check this Discovery News story.
NY Girl of of my dreams - New Yorkers rally to help online Romeo, went the Stuff headline: "A tale of online love inspired usually cynical New Yorkers this week to help a young man find the girl of his dreams after he spotted her on a crowded subway train." Read the story behind the site here. See boys? That's how it's done.
All my faves - Actually, this is a really good idea, and maybe you won't have to do it yourself since this guy's already done it for you. He's created a webpage which organises all his favourite websites in categories. Presumably he's set this up as his browser's homepage and as soon as he's online he can click to go wherever he wants. It's certainly more effective than using browser toolbars. Initially I included the site just because of the idea, but there are actually a lot of interesting links to click as well.
NZ Association of Rationalists and Humanists - We've featured a site or two on religions of the world over the last couple of Online Informers, so Dave, one of our customers, has suggested we also feature one on rationalism. Sounds like a good idea to me. Visit the About and History pages to find out more about the Association, and then have a look around for the interesting and thought-provoking links. Looking for a marriage celebrant, but you don't want someone religious? You've come to the right place. 
Gone but not forgotten - Not sure whether a certain celebrity or politician is still alive? Here's a site where you can check who's still here and who's shuffled off this mortal coil. I'm not sure what would motivate someone to want to maintain a site such as this one, but hey, I'm not sure about a lot of things.
Universal decision maker - Should you or shouldn't you? It can be difficult to decide, and tossing a coin to come up with an answer is so last century. At this web page, you think of a decision you need to make and then click the Start button. A little 'Yes spider' and a little 'No spider' then start a race. In 10-15 seconds, the winning spider lets you know what you should do. I presume the code behind the site ensures a random result each time, but if you're really letting something like this make your decisions, then my guess is that doesn't really matter.
Time travelling email - Ever wanted to email yourself in the future? Want to preserve a snapshot of who you are right now and have that arrive in your inbox in a year's time? At the Future Me site, you can do just that. What a great way to give yourself a surprising chuckle (or wake-up call) in the future, because you'll probably forget you sent it. You can choose whether to make your email private, but what's also interesting is reading some of the 'public but anonymous' emails others have sent themselves.


Cyberspace news snippets

What's been happening in the online world?

New Zealand

ISPs agree to block child porn websites: The Internal Affairs Department has begun working alongside Internet service providers to block access to websites dedicated to child pornography. Click here for more.

Council sells carbon credits on Trade Me: Palmerston North City Council is selling carbon credits on Trade Me, thought to be a New Zealand first for a local authority. Click here for more.

New Icann chairman is a Kiwi: Wellington barrister Peter Dengate Thrush doesn't expect his life to change much after being elected as the first non-American chairman of Icann, the US-based body that sets policy for the Internet addressing system worldwide. Click here for more.

Hacker apologises for skewing Herald free speech poll: A person has apologised for hacking an poll on the state of freedom and free speech in New Zealand, wildly changing the result. The result of the poll - asking "Is NZ becoming a less free and democratic country?" - was running at about 80 per cent "yes". Click here for more.

New Zealand Broadband Result Encouraging: The Wireless and Broadband Forum are encouraged by the results of the latest OECD survey of Broadband Connectivity. While New Zealand had been languishing in the bottom quarter in recent years, the current position at 20 out of 30 is a vast improvement considering the massive initiatives being implemented in other countries. Click here for more.

Firm to monitor NZ's broadband: The Commerce Commission is contracting UK company Epitiro Technologies to measure the quality of broadband internet services provided in New Zealand. Click here for more.

Political webcasts in danger: Songs, videos and cartoons with a political edge are likely to fall foul of the Electoral Finance Bill if they are published in cyberspace. Click here for more.


EU seeks to outlaw internet terrorism: Inciting, recruiting and training for terrorism on the Internet will be made a criminal offence punishable by minimum sentences throughout the European Union under proposals to be adopted next week. Click here for more.

Saga launches networking site for the over-50s: Saga, a UK-based insurance and holiday company for the over-50s, has launched a social networking Web site for silver surfers in a bid to emulate the huge popularity of MySpace, Bebo and Facebook. Click here for more.

Loving the internet: Rather than looking for their perfect match, one in four Americans say the internet can serve as a substitute for a significant other, according to a poll. Click here for more.

Emailing 'all' among top office peeves: Work colleagues who spend their day gossiping, organising their home lives, or who press "reply all" on emails are among the biggest nuisances in the office, according to a new survey. Click here for more.

Woman murdered after answering Craigslist ad: A Minnesota woman was killed after answering a nanny job advertised on Craigslist. It is the first murder on the site, which offers free classified ads hawking just about anything you can imagine. Click here for more.

Spam scammer locked up: A New Jersey man was sentenced to more than two years in prison for helping send 'spam' e-mails to more than 1.2 million America Online subscribers. Click here for more.

Wikipedia not a publisher: A French judge has ruled that Wikipedia is not responsible for defamatory content it hosted on its website. The open source encyclopedia was facing action for damages from three people described as homosexual by the website. Click here for more.

Internet shoppers 'in the dark': Many consumers do not understand their rights or the potential risks when buying goods online, according to the Trading Standards Institute. Click here for more.

Government staff sacked for web breaches: Over 130 UK public servants have lost their jobs due to breaches of IT policy over the last three years, government figures show. Click here for more.

Cyber-jihad fails to materialise: A much hyped cyber-jihad by Islamist s'kiddie hackers on Western websites failed to materialise on Sunday. Click here for more.

Militants refine web tactics: Islamist militants are becoming more skilled at tailoring their message to specific audiences, including women and children, and Western societies are struggling to find a response. Click here for more.

Police swoop on 'hacker of the year': The Swedish hacker who perpetrated the so-called hack of the year has been arrested in a dramatic raid on his apartment, during which he was taken in for questioning and several of his computers confiscated. Click here for more.

Teen hacker arrested for stealing virtual furniture: Dutch police have made their first arrest of an online thief - a 17-year-old accused of stealing virtual furniture from rooms in the Habbo Hotel - a popular teenager networking web site. Click here for more.

But will it survive a dip in the bathtub?: The battle to persuade us all finally to abandon the familiar spine-creased paperback in favour of words on a flickering screen was ratcheted up several degrees yesterday with the launch by Amazon of its long-awaited electronic book-reading device christened Kindle. Click here for more.

Net gridlock by 2010 study warns: Consumer demand for bandwidth could see the internet running out of capacity as early as 2010, a new study warns. Click here for more.

How the web shaped the Australian election: The Australian election campaign has shown the internet is becoming an integral part of the political landscape, with politicians, activists and comedians all using it to have their voice heard. Click here for more.

Google's candid camera snaps Australia: Take extra-special care of your appearance when walking around Australian city streets this summer, as one nose pick or bum scratch could be immortalised on Google Maps forever. Click here for more.

Young warned over social websites: Millions of young people could damage their future careers with the details about themselves they post on social networking websites, a watchdog warns. Click here for more.

Security and Safety

So I Married a Spyware Installer: When Shawn Macleod of Austin, Texas, suspected his estranged wife was engaging in some kind of suspicious behavior, he installed a spyware program on her computer to monitor her e-mails and web behaviour. He now faces four years in jail. Click here for more.

Social networkers warned of risk: A quarter of the 11 million Britons who use social networking sites such as MySpace and Facebook may be leaving themselves open to identity fraud. Click here for more.

Aussie teens sexually harassed online: More than a third of teenage girls in Australia have been sexually harassed via the internet, and more than a quarter admit cyber-bullying other girls, according to a new survey. Click here for more.

Banks open to sharing Govt ID system: Customer identification is an important issue for banks but they say it is "early days" in terms of adopting an online ID system proposed by the Government. Click here for more.

What makes a good password?: We are leaving ourselves open to fraud online because of the passwords we use, says a campaign group. So what makes a good password? Click here for more.

Get out of my Facebook - how the web can haunt you: Millions of young people have made themselves vulnerable to identity theft as well as putting their future academic and professional prospects at risk by recklessly posting personal information on the internet, Britain's privacy watchdog warns in a report published today. Click here for more.

Mainly Microsoft

Microsoft defends Facebook purchase: Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer says his firm's acquisition of a 1.6 per cent stake in socialising website Facebook for $US240 million ($NZ316m) was an important investment, not a mistake. Click here for more.

Unix, Linux and Open Source

Mozilla upgrades Firefox: Firefox has released an update, fixing bugs that had been causing the browser to crash at startup, render web pages improperly or disable add-ons for some users. Click here for more.

Firefox version 3 makes beta: Version 3 of Firefox, the alternative web browser of choice, is now available to download for its first beta test. Click here for more.

The Weird, Wide Web

Spain's blogging gran: "Today it's my birthday and my grandson, who is very stingy, gave me a blog." So reads the first entry by one of the world's oldest bloggers, Maria Amelia Lopez, who, at the age of 95, has surprised herself by a sudden conversion from web-illiterate to cyber-celebrity. Click here for more.

Internet cheese on the block: Wedginald, the English cheddar cheese that has become a star of the Internet as it matures live on screen, is up for auction with the proceeds going to charity. Click here for more.

419er fears unsolicited intergalactic email: A short but illuminating 419 email which demonstrates why, when attempting to negotiate a $9.5m transfer deal, it's better to talk by phone. 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.

Scientists plan to shake hands via Internet: Scientists in Britain and the United States will try to shake hands on Tuesday. No big deal one might think — only they will be 3,000 miles apart, using the Internet to connect them. Click here for more.

Why Can't Hackers Be Stopped?: The battle between malicious hackers and system administrators is a never-ending tug-of-war between constantly evolving adversaries. Every time administrators seem to have gained the upper hand, their nemeses change in surprisingly agile ways. Click here for more.

Want to know what people email to Saddam Hussein?: An insight in what people want to tell Saddam Hussein comes from the pitifully poor security setup on the Iraqi President's main web page. Click here for more.

Bringing it all back home

Rob ZornThanks 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 December and have a great Christmas!

Rob Zorn 


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