June 2008 Topics  









    Past articles  









    Past Online Informers  









    June 2008 Topics  









    Actrix contact info  









    Essential sites  














    June 2008 Topics  
















    Quote of the month  

"There is unexpected beauty hidden everywhere in this world – one just has to be open to seeing it. Remember that the next time you sneeze on your monitor."

- Nathan Walton










    June 2008 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 editor@actrix.co.nz
Other inquiries should be e-mailed to support@actrix.co.nz.

Actrix - New Zealand's first Internet Service Provider

Welcome to the June 2008 Actrix Online Informer!

Welcome to the June Actrix Online Informer. It's incredible that we're already approaching the mid-point of the year. We hope it's been a good one for you so far and that you're enjoying your Internet service with us. If we can be of further service or help you in any way, please don't hesitate to get in touch.

Rob Zorn

18 great Internet Explorer tips 

In past articles we've looked at the way modern browsers (e.g. Internet Explorer, Firefox and Opera) have begun a fierce competition for market share. The result has been that each has copied the best of the others' features to the extent that there is now 'much of a muchness' between them.

A secondary result of the competition is that more and more functions have been added to browsers, or existing features have become more sophisticated and easier to use. Below you'll find 18 tips, or quick ways to do things with Internet Explorer that you may not have realised you could do so easily. Most can also be done in Firefox or in Opera, and usually the methods are very much the same. I have stuck with Internet Explorer for this article, though, because it still retains the greatest number of users around the world.

I am also concentrating on Internet Explorer version 7, which is the latest, and a vast improvement on Internet Explorer 6. I will be referring to two main menus or toolbars. The first is what we'll call the Menu Bar. It is to the top left of Internet Explorer. The other is called the Command Bar and sits to the top right of Internet Explorer. Some features appear on either or both toolbars, and some don't and there seems to be no rhyme or reason as to why that is.

Microsoft says it is aware that having two separate toolbars like this is potentially confusing and is working on a possible solution for the next version of Internet Explorer. In the scheme of things, we're probably still very much in 'browser infancy' stages, and I can't wait to see what browsers can do in 10 years time!

Some of the features covered below can be achieved by keyboard strokes or via your mouse and don't use or need either toolbar. Isn't this fun?

1. Adding a favourite site: If you visit a page and you think you might like to come back to it in future, click Favorites/Add to Favorites in the Menu Bar while you're at the page. Click 'Add' to add it to a list at the bottom of the dropdown menu whenever you click Favorites in the future. You can use the 'New folder' button to create new folders if you want. This can help organise your links into subjects when you start to get too many, and you can choose to save links in new folders as you go.

2. Add a toolbar of favourite links: If you have pages you visit often, it can be handy to have links to those pages all sitting on a toolbar along the top of your browser so you can access them in one click. You may first need to turn the Links toolbar on. To turn the Links toolbar on, click View in the Menu Bar, and then Toolbars. Make sure there's a tick next to 'Links'.

To add a site to the Links toolbar, visit the page and click Favorites/Add to Favorites in the Menu Bar. You may need to shorten the name a little in the 'Name' field to stop it taking up too much room on the Links bar, and then select 'Links' in the 'Create in' field before you click the 'Add' button. This will ensure it goes in the Links bar rather than in the list of bookmarks appearing under Favorites.

3. Delete your browsing history: If you don't want your significant other to see what sites you visited while searching for their birthday present, click Tools in the Menu Bar, and then 'Delete browsing history'. This will bring up a box with a number of buttons to click to delete things. The important ones are Temporary Internet Files, Cookies and History. You could also click Delete All, but that will also delete passwords saved in form fields.

4. Find your way back using 'History': You can turn your 'History' panel on and off by typing Ctrl, Shift and H all at the same time. Your History panel shows all the pages you've been on since you last deleted your browsing history. You can go back days, weeks and months! If you want, you can right-click to delete individual entires.

5. New pages in new tabs: Sometimes when you've become interested in something and followed a few links it can be hard to find your way back to the original site you were on. One thing you can do is right-click on a link and left-click on 'Open in new tab'. This will open the link in a new tab, leaving you on your current page. Click the new tab which opened up to the right to see the linked page. You can open as many of these as you like and then go visit them all when you're done with the page you're on. Also, for most mice with wheels the wheel can be pressed like a button and doing this while pointing at a link will open that link in a new tab.

6. Find on this page: This is handy when you're looking for a certain subject on a long web page. Typing Ctrl and F at the same time will open a Find box you can use to locate a certain word on the page. Click the 'Next' button on the 'Find' box if you don't get to the right place the first time.

7. Change text size: You can change the size of text on many of the web pages you visit.  This is helpful if your eyesight isn't what it used to be. Click View on the Menu Bar and then 'Text Size'. Click to put the dot next to any of the options from "smallest" to "largest". If the text size doesn't change for you, it may be that it has been hard coded into the website.

8. Zoom: Another way to make things bigger on your screen, even if text size has been hard-coded is to use the Zoom feature. On the Command Bar, click 'Page', then Zoom. Choose from the variety of zoom settings presented. If you need to change things back to normal, click '100%'. You could also change your view to full screen which gets rid of all the peripheral stuff and just displays the main browser window. You can switch back and firth between full screen and normal using either toolbar but the easiest way is just to use F11 on your keyboard.

9. Print without losing the edges: It's most annoying when you go to print a web page and a portion of the text is missing because it spills over off the page to the right.  Internet Explorer has a handy new feature that allows you to scale the web page so that fits nicely on an A4 page. It also gives you a preview so you can see how it will look before you print (in case the text becomes too small to read as a result of scaling). On the Command Bar, click the down arrow next to the small icon that looks like a printer, and select 'Print Preview'. By default Internet Explorer will shrink the page to fit, but you can experiment with other options using the drop down arrows along the top of the Print Preview Pane. You'll also see two little buttons up there which allow you to switch back and forth between portrait and landscape orientation, which may also help get the perfect printing result.

10. Set your homepage: Your homepage is the website your browser automatically goes to whenever you start your browser. On the Command Bar, you can click the little icon that looks like a house to return to your home page at any time. You can click the down arrow next to the icon to set your home page to something new or add another homepage tab. Internet Explorer now allows you to add as many home page tabs as you like. In future, when you open Internet Explorer it will open all your homepages in separate tabs. You can use Down Arrow/Remove, to remove any homepage tabs you no longer want.

11. Open a new tab: Multiple tabs are great because you can be at lots of pages at once all within the same browser window. To open a new tab, click the little blank tab that appears to the right in the image above. Type in a new address or click a Favorite to go to a new page. In the pictured example three tabs are open: Actrix, Google and Stuff. Switch back and forth easily just by clicking different tabs. If you want to change the order of your tabs simply drag them into the order you want using your mouse.

12. Tab thumbnails: When you have more than one tab open in Internet Explorer, a new feature appears - the small tab with the four squares to the left in the image above. Click that to invoke a set of thumbnails showing all your open tabs, and click any one to go to it. This is handy for when you have lots of tabs open and need an overview of them all at the same time.

13. Saving an image: If you come across an image on the Internet that you want to keep, simply right-click on it and left-click on 'Save image as'. While you're right-clicking images, you'll notice a number of other things you can do with a couple more mouse-clicks: sending it to someone by email (Email Picture), printing it (Print Picture) or even setting it as your desktop wallpaper (Set as background).

14. Recent pages: Most Internet users are probably quite familiar with the Back and Forward buttons to the top left of Internet Explorer. You can use the Back button to get to the last page you were on, and the Forward button to go forward again once you've used the Back button. Not many of us browse in a straight line, however, so clicking the down arrow next to the Back and Forward buttons will display some recent pages you've been to that may no longer be accessible using the Back and Forward buttons. Another way to see recent pages is to click the down arrow next to the address bar at the top of Internet Explorer (the field displaying web addresses).

15. Refresh and Stop: I find it bizarre that the Refresh and Stop buttons are now sitting on their own up to the right of the Address Bar, especially when they could so easily be included on the new Command Bar, but that just seems to be the Microsoft way! Refresh is the icon that has the two arrows arranged a bit like yin and yang. Click Refresh to reload a page if you think it may have changed or if, for some reason, it has stopped loading. Click Stop to tell your browser to stop loading a page if it seems to be getting itself tied up into knots attempting to do so. If you find it hard to locate the Refresh button, clicking F5 is a keyboard shortcut.

16. Ignore cache: Browsers keep a copy of every page they've recently been to in a big pot called a 'cache'. When you go to a page, the browser will quickly check whether the page at the website is newer than the copy it made and kept last time you were at that page. If its own copy is the same, it will save time for you by loading the page out of its cache rather than downloading in anew. However, sometimes browsers get this wrong and serve you up an older page from your cache instead of a newer version of the page from the site. You can force your browser to ignore the cache and re-download a page by holding down the Ctrl key while you click the Refresh button. This is also known as 'pragma no-cache' for those interested in technical terminology.

17. Block pop-ups: Pop-ups are those annoying extra pages that jump out at you uninvited. They often contain advertisements and those awful smiley emoticons. You can set Internet Explorer to disallow pop-ups by clicking Tools on the Menu Bar and then Pop-up blocker. It's important to be able to turn this feature on and off easily because sometimes pop-ups are good, such as when you're doing your online banking and you get better security from things opening in new windows.

18. Search: Internet Explorer 7 comes with a built in Internet search feature that you can set to use any engine you like. It is located at the very top right of the browser and is set to use Live search by default. If you click the down arrow to the right of the search field, you can change the default setting to Google, and we recommend that you do. This will allow you to search Google without having to go to the Google page first. If you're not a Google fan, you can use the down arrow to select other search providers to add.

Internet Explorer 7 is only available for WinXP Service Pack 2 and newer systems (e.g. Vista). For most it should be installed by now as it will have been downloaded using Windows automatic updates system. If none of the above makes sense to you, then the automatic downloads to you are not yet complete (they can take several months over dialup) or you're on an older operating system. You can check your version of Internet Explorer by clicking Help in the Menu Bar, and then 'About Internet Explorer'. 

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Actrix CyberJet Double Happy 

The free traffic period for Actrix CyberJet users has come to an end and has been replaced by our new service - Double Happy.  Double Happy is an extension to our innovative daily traffic allowance system that effectively doubles your daily allowance.

How? It's simple. You get double for your money and that should make you happy!

Previously we reset your daily traffic allowance at 2am each morning, but with Double Happy we'll be resetting your daily traffic allowance twice per day - Once at 2am and again at 6pm each night. For example, customers subscribed to a 70MB per day plan will receive up to 70MB at their maximum plan speed between 2am - 6pm, and an additional 70MB between 6pm - 2am the following morning.

For more information on Actrix CyberJet Broadband please Click here. To sign up just click the price tag for your desired plan and follow the on screen instructions. For a recent Actrix Online Informer article that may help with some of your questions about broadband, click here.

If you have any questions or wish to talk to one of our support staff about Actrix Broadband please feel free to E-mail support@actrix.co.nz or give us a call on 0800 ACTRIX (228-749) between 8am and 11pm, 7 days.

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 (www.actrix.co.nz).


Peter writes: Hi, I have had to upgrade (yeah right) to Office 2007 from Office 97 (because Word died and no one could fix it) – but that is not my problem. In Outlook Contacts, when you view the contacts they are in the order you want (alphabetical by last name or Company name – or how I have dictated). However when I send an email from Contacts they are displayed by First Name – totally ignoring the display settings in Contacts. When you have 57 Johns this is ridiculous. Help! Peter

Hi Peter, I'd have to say that on the whole I’ve been reasonably impressed with Office 2007’s improvements (and I don't readily warm to Microsoft), but Outlook remains one of the more difficult programs in the suite. However, your problem can be solved.

First, open Outlook and click Tools and then Account Settings. There is a series of tabs in the Account Settings dialogue box. Click the last one called Address Book, and then click the Change button. Put the dot in "File As (Smith, John)" rather than in "First Last (John Smith). Then click Close.

But wait, there’s more! To make sure this change sticks, click Tools again, and then Options. On the Preferences tab click the "Contact Options" button. There are two drop down boxes there you can use to set the default Full Name order. Set both to "Last, First" and click OK. Click OK again and you’re done. However, the changed order won’t show up in your address book or contacts until you restart Outlook.

When you do, open a new email and click the Address Book option in the tools ribbon along the top. Your contacts should now display in surname order.


Don writes: Dear Editor, I have seen a reference to "Safari" which was being recommended by Canon who says they are better than Windows [Internet] Explorer or even faster than Firefox. They give a good writeup and also say it provides better web viewing. Have you ever heard of Safari and could you recommend it? Thanks.

Hi Don, I had always thought Safari was only a Macintosh browser, but was interested to find there is now also a Windows version. The website www.safariwin.com even suggests it has 6 percent market share. I find that a bit dubious but it might be true. I have not used the browser at all, but wouldn’t be surprised if it's quite stylish. I think the Macintosh 'look and feel' has always been superior to Windows. However, the quality of your web-view is probably most determined by the type and quality of your monitor and graphics card.

There is no harm at all in downloading and using it, so feel free to go ahead and try it. If you don't like it you can always start using your usual browser again. Let me know if you do, and how you found it. Are any other Windows users using Safari? If so, how are you finding it?


Cushla writes: Dear Rob – Perhaps you could include in one of your Online Informers a reason for why over the past six months dial-up connection has deteriorated so much? My family purchased me a brand new computer a month ago as they thought the fault was in the machine – however, this was not the case. One should not have to wait 20 minutes and more to download emails surely?

Hi Cushla, I am sorry to hear this and am sure it is very frustrating. Lots of things can affect the speed of a dialup connection. My first thought would have been some spyware infections. These are very common and can clog up your internet connection as they are constantly "reporting home" on your movements. If that's the case, a good spyware clean out might be what you need.

However, if you have a completely new machine and the problem is the same, then it could be something local to you. The quality of your phone line is the most likely. If you have line deterioration or a bad circuit, there can be too much 'noise' on the line for the modem to cope. This is a common problem with rural lines, and nearby electric fences can also cause interference that will slow your modem down. Lastly, it could be something also connected to your phone line, such as a fax machine, that is causing the problem. If you have a fax, try completely disconnecting it and see if that makes a difference.

There are a few other tricks and tweaks that may help. Feel free to give the help desk a call on 0800 228749 and they can help you narrow down what the problem might be and find a fix.


Allistair writes: In the May Actrix Online Informer John wrote about not being able to print out his address book in Outlook Express. I have a similar problem in Thunderbird. I can go to "View" - "Sort by" - "Name" and everything is in alphabetical order there but when I go to "Print Preview" for the address book it is in non alphabetical order. Any clues? Allistair

Hi Allistair, The inability to do this is a known bug in Thunderbird which always prints address book entries in the order in which they were created. There is a workaround, but it's temporary and will only last until a new entry goes in (which Thunderbird does by default every time you email or reply to someone).

  1. Create a new temporary address book (under the File menu).
  2. Select all cards in your original address book. Select "View -> Show Name As -> Last, First."
  3. Drag all cards to the new address book. Cards in the new address book will now be in order.
  4. Delete all entries in your original address book.
  5. Drag all cards from your temporary address book back to the original address book.
  6. Delete the temporary address book.


Paranaputra writes: A stupid question for which I should have found its answer six years (or so) ago, but did not...

I would be grateful to anyone who could tell me how to get a timer to go off with a warning sound at a pre-selected – and variable – time, to tell me that the end of an allotted period on any subject is about to arrive. Sort of like an egg-timer, so to speak, small but clear and LOUD, positioned in any of the four corners of the screen, governed to operate via the START menu (suitable to Windows XP). That should be its essential function, perhaps with a few "other bells and whistles" for more elaborations... Anybody?

It sounds like you need something more than Outlook's calendar feature. There's a lot of software out there that does this sort of thing, as you'll see if you Google egg-timer or post it note software. You could also search sites like Source Forge or Tucows for free versions. Is anybody using something like this that they could recommend. Let's not let Paranaputra suffer another six years of missing deadlines!


Rhondda writes: Hi Rob, I have just perused the list of topics in past Actrix Online Informers, looking for info on the Recycle Bin and emptying it; plus recommendations from you about taking up the offer of 'More Updates are ready". Should we always take up the offer of updates; AND what do they actually update? Are they always free? Looking forward to hearing from you. Rhondda

Hi Rhondda, Emptying the Recycle Bin is pretty easy. Just right-click on it and then left-click on Empty Recycle Bin. That permanently deletes stuff, though, so be sure before you do it. You can double-click your Recycle Bin to check its contents before emptying. If there's anything you want to restore to its original location (i.e. you no longer want to get rid of it) then right-click on the item, and left-click on Restore. But hey, that wasn't an Internet question!

Yes, you should generally agree to take up the free updates as they are announced via the auto-update system. Yes, they are always free, and they're usually security updates – that is fixes to existing problems in your operating system that make you vulnerable to hackers and other web-based nasties. Microsoft is constantly updating its software as new problems come to light (with either security or stability) and these are well-tested before they are automatically downloaded to you. Of course this is also the way most people automatically upgrade to Internet Explorer 7.

The announcement warning will let you check what the updates are before you agree to install them, too.

One more thing... You should only accept Windows updates and updates for other software you know you have installed. Watch out for browser pop-ups which look like Windows messages warning about the computer being out of date and requiring an update. Clicking these often leads to spyware downloads and other dodgy goings-on.

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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!

Ask a chick
www.ask-a-chick.com/ – "We are a group of several chicks who are here to answer your questions! Past topics range from dating and romance to sports and computers! Ask us anything and we might give you an answer (although it might not be right!)"
Letters to God
www.sharenator.com/Letters_To_God/ – Out of the mouths of babes and sucklings.... "Dear God, thank you for the baby brother but what I prayed for was a puppy." "Dear God, If you give me a genie lamp like Alladin I will give you anything you want except my money or my chess set." "Dear God, I want to be just like my Daddy when I get older but not with so much hair all over."
101 fantastic freebies
http://tech.msn.com/products/articlepcw.aspx?cp-documentid=6729042 – "Free. It's the magic word for an ever-expanding wealth of downloadable software and online services. Free doesn't necessarily mean good, however, and hunting for freebies can mean sifting through a lot of junk. That's where we come in. We surfed, clicked and installed to find sparkling free gems capable of planning your time, keeping you in touch and tuning and securing your PC, not to mention glitzing up your desktop..."

http://consumerist.com/ – Consumerist is a consumer affairs blog run by editor Ben Popken. As the name implies, the focus is on consumerism, and it deals with consumers' experiences and issues with companies and corporations. Some of the stories are generated by the creators and others are reader-submitted tips and complaints that Consumerist investigates further. It often posts phone numbers and contact information for CEOs and upper level corporate customer support as a way for disaffected shoppers to fight back.
A guide to food additives
www.cspinet.org/reports/chemcuisine.htm - This site from the Center for Science in the Public Interest contains a great guide to making sense of food additives. It explains what each one is and puts a symbol next to it indicating whether it's safe or known to be harmful, or whether the jury is still out. Some with scary names are quite okay, and others make you wonder why the substances are even legal!
1939 marital rating scale for wives
www.boingboing.net/2008/05/13/1939-marital-rating.html – George W. Crane, MD, was a marriage counsellor and wrote a syndicated national newspaper column called "The Worry Clinic." He developed a test in the late 1930s called the Marital Rating Scale – Wife's Chart. Here's the fist page of the test. How do you measure up?
Gobbledygook generator
www.plainenglish.co.uk/generator.htm – Have you ever wanted to use meaningless, empty phrases that make it look like you know what you are talking about? Simply click on the button and a random piece of business jargon will appear in the box. If you need more than one buzzphrase, just click the button again and again – great for showing everyone at meetings how 'up with things' you are by using terminology no one can follow. When you're bored with that, check through the Golden Bull archives for real life examples of gobbledygook.
Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull Mistakes
www.moviemistakes.com/film7362&no_cj_c=1 – I'm not sure why. Even though we know it's all fantasy, we can't help but enjoy noticing when movies make mistakes. This Movie Mistakes site lists 42 factual or continuity errors in the latest Indiana Jones film – all for your scoffing pleasure. Because we don't want to appear negative, here's a blog site that lists ten interesting facts about the Indian Jones movies – http://www.mentalfloss.com/blogs/archives/15081.
Wikipedia: Unusual articles
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Unusual_articles – The great, free online encyclopaedia, Wikipedia, also has a humorous side. This page lists articles deemed "a bit odd, whimsical, or something you would not expect to find in Encyclopaedia Britannica." A good number of articles are about New Zealand. Funny that.
Kiwi words and phrases
http://www.chemistry.co.nz/kiwi.htm – On a recent trip overseas, we spent much of our time in a group which included a few Americans. They were very intrigued by words and expressions we used that we considered commonplace. One even started writing them all down to take home and share with her friends. We made up a few just to keep things interesting. Anyway, this page sets out and defines a lot of our colloquialisms, and it's interesting to see just how many of them may need explaining to foreigners.


Cyberspace news snippets

What's been happening in the online world?

New Zealand

Children increasingly tech-savvy – survey: A survey of more than 600 New Zealand kids shows what many parents will already know - they are increasingly tech-savvy and using new media in ever higher numbers. Click here for more.

Tuhoe invest $1m in broadband network: A survey of more than 600 New Zealand kids shows what many parents will already know - they are increasingly tech-savvy and using new media in ever higher numbers. Click here for more.

NZ online ad spend surges: Kiwi companies spent $45 million on internet advertising in the first quarter of 2008. Click here for more.

Internet can save some '$721 a year' on fuel: The price of petrol is driving people in rural areas to use the internet rather than their cars, says rural broadband provider Farmside. Click here for more.


Fake Web profiles helped seduce young girl, court told: A Melbourne man who lured an underage American girl into an online relationship asked her to join him in a suicide pact after police started investigating him, an Australian court heard. Click here for more.

Spam reaches 30-year anniversary: Spam – the scourge of every e-mail inbox – celebrates its 30th anniversary this weekend. The first recognisable e-mail marketing message was sent on 3 May, 1978 to 400 people on behalf of DEC – a now-defunct computer-maker. Click here for more.

Semantic search for Wikipedia website: The 2020 Communications Trust and Tuhoe iwi are building a $1 million WiFi network for schools, marae and homes in the Ureweras. Click here for more.

Cyber bullying affects 1 in 5 Aust youth, poll finds: The internet plays a critical role in the lives of 15- to 20-year-olds, with 64 per cent having a social network site such as MySpace or Facebook, the poll found. Click here for more.

Microsoft launches Messenger with video: Microsoft has launched a new online service in 20 countries, including New Zealand, which will allow users to watch video clips at the same time as a network of friends and chat via Windows Live Messenger. Click here for more.

Google kids have grown up, says Schmidt: It's official: the guys who founded Google are grown up. That was the pronouncement from Google Chief Executive Eric Schmidt, who was hired in 2001 to provide mature, traditional business savvy to the internet search company founded by whiz kids Larry Page and Sergey Brin. Click here for more.

Al Qaeda extremists hone skills online: Al Qaeda and other radical groups have dramatically increased their use of the internet in recent years to lure and train recruits worldwide, a US Senate report warned. Click here for more.

Facebook users warned about ads: Credit companies are using the Facebook social networking site to target young people, a debt charity has warned. Click here for more.

Woman indicted in fatal MySpace cyber-bully case: A Missouri woman who prosecutors say used a fake MySpace persona to "torment, harass, humiliate and embarrass" a 13-year-old girl who committed suicide was indicted on Thursday on federal charges. Click here for more.

Internet minefield threatens young: Schools, universities and employers are increasingly turning to the internet to find information on young people, an internet authority says. Click here for more.

Spam King does a runner after $306m fine: Spam King Sanford 'Spamford' Wallace and partner Walter Rines, fined a total of US$234 million, have done a disappearing act. Click here for more.

OECD warns on net address change: Slow progress on the net's new addressing system risks breaking it into regional blocks, warns the OECD. Click here for more.

Colonel: Build military 'botnet' as cyberspace weapon: Hackers often harness the combined power of thousands of virus-infected personal computers to pump out spam e-mail or disable targeted servers by overwhelming them with Internet traffic. Now an Air Force colonel is suggesting the U.S. military build its own 'botnet'. Click here for more.

Married? Sleazy? How to avoid online dating losers: When Jane Coloccia set out to find her soul mate online she had no idea that eight years and 200 dates later she would end up an expert on the topic, writing a book and setting up a course to teach the pitfalls of web love. Click here for more.

Aussie high schoolers get Wikipedia course: In an Australian first, NSW high school students will from next year be able to take a course in studying Wikipedia, the online collaborative encyclopedia. Click here for more.

Web worlds 'useful' for children: Virtual worlds can be valuable places where children rehearse what they will do in real life, reveals research. Click here for more.

Web users 'getting more ruthless': Web users are getting more ruthless and selfish when they go online. Click here for more.

Internet key to Obama victories: With Barack Obama moving close to victory in the Democratic presidential primary campaign, the internet has proved one of the key tools to his success. And it may well give the Democrats a big advantage during the Presidential race itself. Click here for more.

Another baby put up for sale online: A couple has been arrested in what Canadian police said was an apparent offer to sell a seven-day-old baby girl on Craigslist for $C10,000 ($NZ12,800). Click here for more.

Security and Safety

Cybercrims sell malware online – complete with EULA: Even criminal hackers want to protect their intellectual property, and they've come up with a method akin to copyrighting - with an appropriate dash of internet thuggery thrown in. Click here for more.

Google helps the web to go social: Google has joined the drive to make the web more social by introducing tools to enable people to interact with their friends. Click here for more.

Fighting the agents of organised cybercrime: Back in the good old days of the Internet, the hacker was a teenager motivated by high-tech pranks and bragging rights. Today, the online thief could be anyone with 'Net access after a quick buck. Click here for more.

Staying safe and taking risks: Should we have two internets asks Bill Thompson. Jonathan Zittrain's recent book, The Future of the Internet - And How to Stop It, has spurred a lot of discussion both online and offline, with blog posts lauding his insights or criticising his over-apocalyptic imagination. Click here for more.

Web banking: It's time to write down your password: Banks should stop forcing customers to create long, alphanumeric passwords because they can't protect against today's threats, according to AT&T computing researcher William Cheswick. Click here for more.

Mainly Microsoft

Yahoo shares plunge after Microsoft bails: Shares in Yahoo Inc fell almost 20 percent in Frankfurt on Monday after Microsoft Corp walked away from its bid for the Internet company. Click here for more.

Microsoft, Yahoo – Let's Make a Deal Part II: After walking away from negotiations to buy all of Yahoo, Microsoft now says it may make a smaller deal with the Internet giant. Click here for more.

Unix, Linux and Open Source

Firefox: Can browsers make bucks?: What's the most valuable piece of web software you use every day? Your web browser, surely. So whoever makes the browser which dominates the market should also make riches beyond the dreams of avarice - shouldn't they? Click here for more.

Debian fixes serious crypto bug: Debian has warned of a vulnerability in its cryptographic functions that could leave systems open to attack. Click here for more.

Mozilla mulls second release candidate for Firefox 3.0: Mozilla is considering whether on not to publish a further test version of Firefox 3 following the discovery of ten noteworthy bugs in Firefox 3.0 RC1. Click here for more.

The Weird, Wide Web

Hubby tries to flog wife on eBay: A JEALOUS husband who suspected his wife of an affair took revenge – by putting her for sale on eBay. Paul Osborn, 44, kicked out wife Sharon and advertised her on the internet auction site – with bids hitting £500,100. Click here for more.

Dr Who fan in knitted puppet row: A Doctor Who fan is embroiled in a row with the BBC after she published knitting patterns for the sci-fi drama's monsters on the internet. 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.

New Zealanders turn to religion on the net: New Zealanders are turning to God... but they're doing it on the Internet. Internet intelligence company Hitwise says there has been a jump in the number of kiwis setting off on their spiritual journeys along the information super-highway. Click here for more.

Rise of the Spam Zombies: Pressed by increasingly effective anti-spam efforts, senders of unsolicited commercial e-mail are resorting to outright criminality in their efforts to conceal the source of their ill-sent missives, using Trojan horses to turn the computers of innocent netizens into secret spam zombies. Click here for more.

Sneaky software hijacks more browsers: Patrick Ewalt still fumes about being hijacked on the Internet. Last fall, he clicked on a pop-up ad and got diverted to the ad's Web site, which then implanted itself as the first page to appear whenever Ewalt started his Web browser. 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 (support@actrix.co.nz) or to the Accounts Department (accounts@actrix.co.nz).

Take care through June!

Rob Zorn


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