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"We will create a civilization of the Mind in Cyberspace. May it be more humane and fair than the world your governments have made before."

A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, February 1996










    November 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
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Actrix - New Zealand's first Internet Service Provider

Welcome to the November 2008 Actrix Online Informer!

Welcome to the November Actrix Online Informer.

Judging by the amount of feedback, the articles on scams were enjoyed by many. Thanks to those who wrote in to say so.

Of course, as soon as I had finished the series, I noticed there was another scam I had overlooked; that of scareware. This is when you're surfing the net and a warning pops up from some outfit you've never heard of saying that your computer is in danger or that something nasty has been detected on your hard drive. You're then offered something to download to 'help you out'. This download could either be a piece of useless soft-junk you can buy but don't need (because the warning was fake in the first place) or, worse, it could be free but something nasty in and of itself - such as spyware or a trojan. The likelihood is it will be both.

It so happens that one of our CyberSpace news snippets deals with scareware, so if this something you'd like to know more about, check out "Fighting the scourge of scareware" in the Cyberspace news snippets section. By further coincidence a reader has also sent in a Forum entry on what appears to be a scareware problem.

One of our Interesting sites this week deals with the Gorgeous Pill. You can buy this online and it will make you look better by actually changing your bone structure over time until you reach perfection. The Gorgeous Pill is what is known as "snake oil" of course, named after the old wonder cures peddled at fairs and by travellers that were nothing more than watered down cactus juice. In light of that I thought I'd gather a few sites that offer more practical and sensible ways to make our lives better, and that's the stuff of "Self help online".

I hope there's something for you this issue.

Rob Zorn

Self-help online

The Internet abounds with self help resources, a lot of them from blogs where writers are just itching to share with you their ideas about how to achieve great things, be a better person, or just do stuff more easily.

This month I thought I'd put together a small sample of what's out there. Some are really helpful, some are a bit tongue-in-cheek, but all are probably worth a look. If you'd like to do a little more exploring on your own, a few sites to use as a starting point include: – E-How – Wiki How – The Simple Dollar – Zen Habits – Life Hacker – Wise Bread

Fear-free flying

Are you one of those who gets filled with irrational panic at the thought of boarding an aeroplane? You know the chances of being an air crash are less than those of being eaten by a shark, but your heart still races and your palms sweat at the mere thought of taking off?

Help is at hand. The Fear-free flying website offers expert advice on how to understand and deal with this "common psychological problem among travellers." Over 60 articles are provided and advice ranges from how to use self-hypnosis, to how to use music therapy, aromatherapy or plain old breathing techniques. 

The site also delves into the reasons behind aerophobia and, for the more practically minded, provides coping strategies for delays, queues and panic attacks. For many sufferers of aerophobia, the fear is worsened by a lack of understanding on the mechanical operation and safety procedures around flights, so an informative article is provided on the way planes work to help assure you of their safety.

Really clean your bathtub and surrounding area

As this website's introduction says, "What could be nastier than your visitors seeing a dirty bathtub? Only one thing; a bathtub that's been scrubbed till you drop and it still looks dirty."

Here's how to easily clean away those stubborn things that tend to cling to tubs and the walls around them so that you never need to be ashamed of your bathroom again. There are links to related articles such as how to remove and replace a drain stopper, how to clean caulking and how to keep soap scum at bay.

If you're bored with all that or don't really need bathroom help, there's a link to an article on how to tackle someone in football instead. Don't ask me why.

How to treat your child's cold and cough without using drugs

If you have a child under age 4, what are you supposed to do now that the makers of children's cough and cold medicines are warning parents not to use their products? This site suggests no child under 6 should be given these medicines and that even up to the age of 12 these drugs should only be used with caution. Apparently the only ways these medicines appear to help is because they sedate the child.

So here are a number of alternatives including, you guessed it, hot chicken soup.

How to reuse old toothbrushes

We all know that we're supposed to replace our toothbrushes every 3-4 months, but what are we to do about the incredible wastage problem this presents? Surely these wonderful little tools are good for more and longer than that.

Well, you'd be amazed at what you can do with an old toothbrush and this website provides about 50 uses. You can use them in the garden, to apply makeup, remove, splinters, clean all sorts of bits and pieces that you thought would always be dirty and for pet hygiene. Even better, you can make them into tiny electronic "bristle-bots" and race them competitively. And all the while you'll be helping the environment at the same time.

Keep important stuff from slipping through the cracks

It's a typical day. On your list is the shopping, picking the kids up from school, writing that article about online help, paying some bills, brushing the guinea pigs, walking the dog, answering emails and so on. As this article states, it's easy to feel overwhelmed as much by the little things in life as it is by the big things. "We get so caught up in running through our list of things to do that we don't really think about what's important or not."

The article goes on to provide a sensible and simple way to approach the day's or week's tasks to help determine what's important and what should be done first. The few minutes spent thinking before we start mindlessly doing can make all the difference and lead to both accomplishment and a feeling of control.

Nine tips for getting a table and being treated well at restaurants

If you're paying a lot of money for an evening out dining with friends and loved ones, you should expect the experience to be special. But sometimes it's not. Why is it that you often have to wait inexplicably long periods for your drinks, for meals or for attention from the waiting staff, while other tables seem to be getting preferential treatment?

Well, here are some tips for becoming a restaurant VIP from someone who used to be editor in chief of a publishing house and edited cookbooks by some of the world's best chefs. He says it wasn't this that got him good service in restaurants, however, it was the tips he's about to share.

"Test even a few and you’ll almost always get amazing treatment at the very restaurants others can barely get into."

How to come up with good conversation topics

"Even if you know how to start a conversation and make it a good one, there is still the issue of choosing what you're going to talk about." This page provides some good, safe topics that will ensure a conversation gets going, as well as some tips on how to bring those topics up. Safe topics include family, travels, food, drink and work. People also love being complimented.

Some topics are inappropriate in some situations, and some are just plain boring, so a list of conversational no-nos is also provided to help you keep your foot out of your mouth. Examples include past relationships, things that don't smell nice, serial killers and stalkers.

Making work feel effortless

"Sometimes work can be a drag. You get caught up in trying to be more productive and suddenly your life turns into a series of to-do lists. You gauge your measure of success by how much you accomplish. You even determine how happy you allow yourself to be by how much you’ve gotten done in the day."

If that's you and you're willing to try a little 'zen and the art of making work seem like less of a chore and more like a gift', then this is the web page you've been waiting for. There must be a real art to it. I really like the last suggestion that you should refuse to do what you don't want to do, but I'm worried that would make my work life end up like the sound of one hand clapping.

How to tell when your hard drive is going to fail

If your hard drive is on the brink of giving up the ghost, there are some warning signs that could alert you and save you a whole lot of hassle. If your machine is a little long in the tooth and a few of these things are happening, it might be time to do a massive back up and get it looked at.

Warning signs include strange noises, disappearing data, ridiculous slowness and crashes. The smoke rising from the back of your PC is also a dead give away, but by then it's probably too late.

Form an attack plan for a cluttered, messy home

Are you one of those people who leaves things behind, left out to accumulate unattended? Is the problem so bad that there's so much mess you couldn't even think of where to put it all if you were cleaning up?

If you're a "household procrastinator" then no amount of storage bins or shelving is going to help. You need to change your behaviour. The good news is that it is possible to change even your worst habits, and solving the clutter problem is actually easier than you might think. In fact it's common sense. The problem is a few of us might be "common sense procrastinators" as well.

Go from introvert to extrovert

"If you're an introvert, how do you balance the introvert and extrovert parts of yourself, such that you enjoy both types of activities equally, rather than looking forward to one and dreading the other?

"If you're very introverted, you may undervalue the positive role people can play in your life, such as knowledge, friendship, growth, laughter, and so on. The optimal outcome is to strike a balance between the two and become an ambivert, or someone who enjoys social interaction and solitude equally."

There are some links to related how-tos below the article such as stopping being a 'people-pleaser'.

Nifty tips for getting the most from an all-you-can eat buffet

"Food can serve many purposes. For some it is merely for nourishment. For others it is a form of art or a means of entertainment. For still others, it fills an emotional need and could even be considered an addiction or vice."

This article provides advice for meeting the most basic of needs: good nutrition, a bit of indulgence, and a chance to enjoy time with your family or friends and not have dishes to clean up! It's written by someone in a family of six. They regularly eat out for less than $20.00.

Accept criticism with grace and appreciation

When we get criticised, our first reaction is often to be defensive or strike back indignantly. As this page points out, however, criticism can also be viewed in a positive way. If it is given honestly, criticism can encourage us to to do better, but it can also help us develop an inner resilience by learning to control how we react, resolve internal conflicts while not whining or howling.

By following these helpful tips, you can get off the back foot and actually take command, even when it's your performance (or hair) that's being put down. Maybe not if it's your personal hygiene...

A guide to a highly romantic yet frugal night out

This writer has been collecting ideas and tips for achieving a frugal romantic date. The system is to choose one option from the "Dinner" section and the "Entertainment" section and then top it off with one item from the "Follow-Up" section.

I recommend extreme caution with this one. The trick is to pull the evening off having the other person admire your inventiveness, but the danger is they'll despise you once they see the lengths you'll go to in order to save a bob or two.

How to save money on your wedding

This article resulted from a conversation the writer overheard in a restaurant. It doesn't amount to much more than that you should ask for a discount from your wedding planner. However links to a few other pages about saving wedding costs are also included and these have a number of helpful tips.

The first is to a 'A Practical Wedding' which has stories about actual couples, what they did and how they did it. The pictures would seem to indicate that good times were had by all even though thousands of dollars weren't spent.

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Actrix LLU broadband switched on in Wellington City

This might be a little complicated for some readers as it involves a fair bit of tech-speak. Basically, the good news is that Actrix has begun a programme of equipment installs into Telecom exchanges that will lead to better service provision. We're among the first to get this underway, and plans are for a nation-wide roll out over time.

MEDIA RELEASE: 30 September 2008

Wellington based, nation-wide Internet provider Actrix has switched on its first exchange.

"Our first NEC cabinet is located in the Courtenay Place Telecom exchange, meaning we can now offer better services to approximately 1100 customers located within the immediate vicinity," says Actrix Chief Executive George Reedy.

"The new exchange is a strategic step along the way towards taking better control over the way Actrix customers experience the internet and to continually improve on our service and commitment to those who connect through us."

The new exchange means Actrix can now offer a range of services which are not required to fit into the specifications of products purchased from wholesale providers. More importantly Actrix now has much more control over available speeds, service quality, network subscription levels, etc, meaning services can be more easily designed with customer requirements in mind. Instead of relying on Telecom to provide a connection from the customer's premises, Actrix can now obtain a direct connection to the customer's copper line.

A dedicated ADSL2+ service and products designed specifically for this will be the first major development for Actrix and its customers. This will be followed by the roll-out of equipment into additional unbundled exchanges and new technologies such as VDSL, VDSL2 & VOIP among others.

"We have been working toward this moment for over a year. Now that Government and Commerce Commission changes have been implemented Actrix can finally provide Wellington with better services at the right price," says Reedy.

The Government enacted legislation (the Telecommunications Amendment Act 2006) which allowed the Commerce Commission to regulate both the provision of wholesale services from Telecom to ISPs and provide access to Telecom's copper local loop network. The most publicised detail of this was the operational separation of Telecom into three distinct business units - Telecom Retail, Telecom Wholesale, and Chorus (essentially Telecom Network).

The Commission has since been involved in the creation and implementation of Standard Terms Determinations for some of the services offered by Telecom Wholesale and Chorus. These determinations are designed to promote competition and ensure equal access to wholesale and network services.

Actrix has so far focused on the Unbundled Copper Local Loop (UCLL) network service and is the first ISP to roll out a UCLL service in Wellington. It intends to install NEC equipment into a number of Wellington exchanges as Chorus continues to unbundle. Plans are being developed to launch nation-wide over the next 12-18 months.

Chorus Chief Executive Mark Ratcliffe said it is wonderful to see New Zealand's first commercial ISP making such a bold move and that Chorus looks forward to supporting further roll-out of local loop unbundling in New Zealand.

Coverage map

Image: Chorus Chief Executive Mark Ratcliffe (left) and Actrix Chief Executive George Reedy.


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 turn up under the Helpful Tips section on the Actrix home page (


Carol writes: Gidday there Rob, I am joining another household with an existing computer, which is served by [another ISP]. Mine is at the moment on Actrix, and I would like to stay with this. Can this be done, and would we need two connections and modems etc?

Hi Carol, There is no problem with the one computer having two accounts with differing service providers if you are on dialup, though, of course, they can't be used at the same time. If the computer currently uses dialup with that other provider, all you need to do is add a new dialup networking connection that has the Actrix dial in number in its settings and your user name and password, and when you want to go online you connect using that one. You wouldn't need to use a different modem.

There are problems if you are both using the same email program but wanting to use different email addresses as ISPs set up their email servers not to allow email through originating from other ISPs. This is a good thing as it prevents spamming. If you use a different log in to the computer it will be reasonably simple, but if you’re using the same log in – the problems I mention can still be overcome.

So, the short answer is yes it can be (and often is) done with dialup, but when it comes time to setting up the new Actrix connection, give the help desk a call (0800 228 749). It should only take a few minutes to talk you through putting the new settings in.

If broadband is involved, then that's a whole other kettle of fish.


Anthony writes: I was very surprised to see you link to this in the Unix, Linux and Open Source section of Cyberspace news snippets: When I first read it, I thought it was possibly ironic; now I think it's just plain ignorant. It will mislead and confuse many of your readers who don't know any better.

Is this supposed to be funny? "Sitting somewhere to the left of Mao and to the right of Idi Amin, Linux users are a complex bunch of geeked-up, black-hat freedom fighters. Or, they are socially-backward nerds with bad skin and cardies with elbow patches, depending on who you listen to."

Was this guy aware that "Google's Linux cluster currently processes over 150 million queries a day, searching a multi-terabyte web index for every query with an average response time of less than a quarter of a second, with near-100% uptime" (

Or "Linux at IBM. There are now more than 15,000 IBM Linux customer engagements worldwide, allowing customers to reduce their computing costs with solutions ranging from Web serving to some of the largest supercomputers." or "Linux offers a future-proof, long-term strategic platform. All major server and middleware vendors support the Linux platform" ( 

And just for the record, my parents – who are 86 – have been using Linux for years. As have I. And I don't have bad skin, cardies and elbow patches.

So at the very least, direct people to

Hi Anthony, Thanks for your response. The purpose of the Cyberspace news snippets section of the Actrix Online Informer is not to push any particular view. It is simply to provide links to what's out there and what's being said. Dave Thompson is a good writer and quite net-knowledgeable. I thought he was being a little 'tongue in cheek' and reflecting the rivalry that exists between some Linux and some Microsoft users. I am sure he didn't mean to offend anyone.

The good thing is that we also provide this forum so people who wish to point out alternative points of view can do so, and I'm glad you took the opportunity to do so. -Ed.


Julie writes: Hi there, I use 'My Pictures' to keep my photos in. I can click on a photo and then on the side I click 'send by email' very easily as it downsizes the photo etc. My problem is, how can I send more than one photo at a time? I know to go to my email program and attach photos, but they need to be downsized first.

Hi Julie, Yes, the way later versions of Windows allow you to compress photos before you send them by email is a nice feature. You can use the same method to send more than one photo at a time. After you’ve clicked on one photo, hold your Ctrl key down and click on another one. You will notice both photos are now selected. Keep clicking on images you want to send while holding down CTRL to select as many as you want. Then right-click on any of the selected photos and left click on Send to/Email recipient. Windows will then attach them all to the one email and give you the compression option. Note however, that only the copies of the photos attached to your email are compressed. The originals still in My Pictures are left as they were.

The Actrix Online Informer had an article about photos, email and the web in December 2006 which you can read here:


Michelle writes: My son opened a window as kids do rrrr. This was titled windows security you have a infected file the link that is recommended leads to” wow” a Virus killer site. I have run full Scans with AVG and Lava soft and don’t detect any major problems but every now and then this program keeps popping up I can’t seem to get rid of it. Not a major issue (as I tend to ignore it) but don’t want kids to open something there not supposed to. All help will be greatly appreciated, Regards, Michelle

Hi Michelle, This sounds like a piece of 'scareware' – a scam designed to make you think you have an infection on your machine or something else wrong so that they can either sell you a product, or get you to download something that may be even worse for you. That AVG doesn’t pick anything up is a little bit re-assuring, but the fact that this thing keeps popping up makes me suspect there is spyware/adware there that may be cleverly hiding itself.

Next time you get the pop up, take some good notes about exactly what it says and go and Google the name of the program or something from the pop up words. That way you can probably learn more about it, what it is, and how to remove it. If you need help with this, give Support a call on 0800 228749 and have the notes you took handy.

It's also a good idea to educate people using your computer about not clicking on warnings and free offers that randomly come along as you surf the web. Most of these are not what they claim to be. Know what security programs you have installed, and only pay attention to warnings that come from these.

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Interesting 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!

Complete list of dog breeds – The American Kennel Club has an really comprehensive list of dog breeds. It's a wonderful site for dog lovers. Choose a breed from the alphabetical list to read about them, then click further links to the breed's history, photos and more!
Ancient world mysteries – "In the modern age there is a growing realisation that those of the ancient world were in possession of a knowledge far more advanced than one would expect, challenging that most axiomatic assumption that the further back in time we go, the less knowledge man held." In fact, the people behind this site believe the ancients' accomplishments amount not to mere convention or 'art', but to a "profound high science."
Understand the financial crisis – "Freddie and Fannie, Bernanke, Bush, mortgages, loans, foreclosure, $700 billion bailout, recession, crisis. These are the words filling the headlines and being tossed around in Washington and on Wall Street in worry and, yes, panic. What does it all mean?"

Words Collins wants to exuviate,8599,1847042,00.html?iid=digg_share – Here are a list of words the Collins English Dictionary wants to discard to make room for up to 2,000 new entries. I quite like words, and think it's a shame to let any of them go but, to tell the truth, I'd never heard of any of these!
The eye-balling game – "Some people are bothered by pictures on the wall hanging slightly crooked. Others may not even be aware that something may be amiss... The game works by showing you a series of geometries that need to be adjusted a little bit to make them right. A square highlights the point that needs to be moved or adjusted. Use the mouse to drag the blue square or arrowhead where you feel it is 'right'. Once you let go of the mouse, the computer evaluates your move."
Word Magazine's World: album covers – This is really interesting, particularly for people as interested in what's on the cover of an album as much as the music. A long list of albums is provided, arranged alphabetically by artist. Clicking these lets you zoom in on a world map to exactly where the cover photo was taken. or you can use the map itself to select places around the globe where photos were taken. Don't forget to use the zoom-slider on the left to get closer or move further back. When you go to an album, a little extra information about the photo and location is usually provided.
Death by caffeine – This seems to be a site especially for those obsessed with the amount of caffeine. It provides a "comprehensive database of caffeine content in energy drinks, soda, coffees, and food." What is perhaps a little more interesting is the tool to calculate how much of a certain product you can consume before it will kill you. Ckick the "Death by Caffeine" link to access the tool. It seems I could eat 672.08 Zingo mints (whatever they are) before I kicked the bucket. Useful to know!
Gorgeous pill – Now here's something we've all been waiting for – a pill that can be taken to make us more beautiful. In fact, the more gorgeous pills you take, the better looking you will become, and eventually, you will reach physical perfection.  "Gorgeouspil works so well that it does not only change the shape of your flesh, it also alters the shape of your bones." Oh and it cures baldness too, of course. I'm sure it's all very scientific.
Areas 51 – The Secret Headquarters for Paranormal Reports is a one-stop dashboard for the paranormal where you can catch up on the latest from top paranormal sites: A look at the site's key words gives you the idea: area51, ghost, ufo, cryptozoology, mib, nostradamus, vampire, alien...
Pointless sites – This site describes itself as the "premier portal of pointlessness", and we'd have to agree. Now you don't have to waste valuable time surfing the web looking for ways to waste your valuable time. Here they are all in one place. The latest pointless sites appear in the centre of the page, but there are links to lots more all around the margins. Don't even bother playing "Shave my Yeti." It's not worth the 10 seconds it takes for the Flash to load.


Cyberspace news snippets

What's been happening in the online world?

New Zealand

Trio face $200,000 fines in first spam prosecution: Three men are each facing a $200,000 fine in the first prosecution in New Zealand under tough anti-spamming laws. Click here for more.

Wireless internet users risk porn trap: Thousands of internet users are at risk of becoming embroiled in child pornography trafficking because of insecure security settings on their wireless connections. Click here for more.

Invercargill student expelled for hacking school: A pupil at Invercargill's James Hargest College has been expelled after hacking into the school's computer system and accessing sensitive information about pupils and teachers. Click here for more.

Kiwi spam network was 'world's biggest': A vast international internet spam operation run from New Zealand has been cited by American authorities as one of the world’s largest, and for a time responsible for up to a third of all unwanted emails. Click here for more.

Spam vs junk mail - which is the lesser evil?: While I, like most people, hate spam with a passion, I still wonder if our near endless obsession with obnoxious emails offering to enlarge our wobbly bits or even allowing us the pleasure of growing Nigeria's GDP has blinded us to an even bigger issue? Click here for more.

How web-savvy are New Zealand's minor political parties?: In part one of this series on New Zealand party political websites I looked at Labour and National and found that National were streaks ahead of Labour. Now it's time to review the online presence of the minor political parties. Click here for more.

Library harvest costs websites dear: Website owners are complaining the National Library's attempt to "harvest" more than 100 million New Zealand webpages, some of which will be preserved in its new $24 million digital archive, has slowed access to websites and cost them money. Click here for more.

Rapid growth in NZ broadband use: New Zealand was switching to broadband faster than most other Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development countries in the first half of the year, with the sixth highest growth rate in connections. Click here for more.

Kiwis go online as economic conditions contract: As the economy continues to contract New Zealanders are turning to internet sales for additional cash, according to the latest sales figures from online auction site Trade Me. Click here for more.


Men happiest online, women prefer family time: For men, bliss is often just a mouse-click away while quality time with family is guaranteed to put a smile on women's faces, according to an Australian study of what makes people happy. Click here for more.

Porn-surfing laptop thief caught by own stupidity : A New York laptop thief got caught - after the computer owner tracked him remotely. Click here for more.

Aussie cracks $15m online poker scam: Detective work by an Australian online poker player has uncovered a US$10 million (NZ$14.5 million) cheating scandal at two major poker websites and triggered a US$75 million legal claim. Click here for more.

The kiss and tell of social networks: Twitter is a "microblogging" tool that allows users to fire off haiku-like, 140-character messages to the world about anything. True adherents can send dozens of messages daily and receive thousands in return. Often they are ridiculously banal, sometimes fascinating, but always deeply personal. Click here for more.

Internet use 'good for the brain': For middle aged and older people at least, using the internet helps boost brain power, research suggests. Click here for more.

Kids avoid bullies (and discovery) using Internet: Hoping to combat the "snitch" label that often leads to silent suffering, six Utah schools have introduced a Web site that allows students to anonymously report bullies. Click here for more.

Giant database plan 'Orwellian': Proposals for a central database of all mobile phone and internet traffic have been condemned as "Orwellian". Click here for more.

Candidates hit back hard, fast against online attacks: Barack Obama is not a Muslim, and John McCain did not tell the television show "60 Minutes" he was a war criminal who intentionally bombed women and children in Vietnam. But if you have spent any time browsing the Internet this year, you may have read rumors to the contrary. Click here for more.

Spam flood goes on despite bust: Last week's bust of the largest spam operation in the world, which was run by a Kiwi, has had no measurable impact on global spam volumes. Click here for more.

The ex files: In the middle of his Pacific island honeymoon, a Melbourne finance executive discovered that a woman claiming to be his ex had branded him in cyberspace as a dud lover and serial cheat. Along with his name and picture, the anonymous "ex" posted his mobile phone number, address and car registration on the "love rat" site Click here for more.

Web content 'disturbing children': Three out of four children have seen images on the internet that disturbed them, an NSPCC poll suggests. Click here for more.

Man killed wife in Facebook row: Wayne Forrester, 34, told police he was devastated that his wife Emma, also 34, had changed her online profile to "single" days after he had moved out. Click here for more.

Google project attracts 150,000 ideas: Last month Google Inc. announced a competitive project to pay $10 million for the best ideas that could have a beneficial impact on the world. The ideas came flooding in from around the world – more than 150,000 of them. Now comes the hard part. Click here for more.

Woman jailed for 'killing' virtual husband: A woman in Japan has been jailed after allegedly killing off the character of her internet boyfriend in a popular online game. Click here for more.

Users urged to report abuse sites: Web users who find images of child sex abuse online are being urged to report it to the Internet Watch Foundation. Click here for more.

Australia trials national net filters: Is the Rudd government about to erect a Great Firewall of Australia - introducing a form of internet censorship that will infringe upon the freedom of computer users to browse the worldwide web? Click here for more.

Man threatens lawsuit after negative eBay feedback: An eBay shopper may face libel charges after posting negative feedback about a seller on the auction site. Click here for more.

Internet heralds revenge of the nerds: The internet is not just changing the way people live but altering the way our brains work with a neuroscientist arguing this is an evolutionary change which will put the tech-savvy at the top of the new social order. Click here for more.

Security and Safety

Fighting the scourge of scareware: "Scareware" merchants are accused of tricking computer users into clicking on pop-up alerts that claim their device is "damaged and corrupted". They are then persuaded to buy software that corrects the non-existent issue by offering fake security fixes. Click here for more.

Storm botnet blows itself out: Security watchers claim the infamous Storm botnet is no more, with spam emails drying up last month - but is it really gone for good? Click here for more.

Scammers making '$15m a month' on fake antivirus: Figures suggesting that fake anti-virus packages are allowing cybercrooks to make more than €10m a month are been described as little better than guesswork. Vendors across the industry are warning that scarewore packages - which attempt to trick would-be marks into handing over their hard-earned cash for packages that claim to resolve fictitious infections - are a growing problem. Click here for more.

FBI: Computer Spying, ID Theft on the Rise: Computer spying and theft of personal information have risen notably in the past year, costing tens of millions of dollars and threatening U.S. security, the FBI's cyber division head said on Wednesday. Click here for more.

Alarm raised on teenage hackers : Increasing numbers of teenagers are starting to dabble in hi-tech crime, say experts. Click here for more.

Mainly Microsoft

Microsoft: 'No interest' in pursuing Yahoo deal: Microsoft said yesterday it is not pursuing an acquisition of Yahoo, despite public comments by Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer suggesting a deal between the two companies might still be on the table. Click here for more.

Microsoft says next Windows won't be as annoying : The world's largest software maker also is making Word, Excel and other key elements of Office - its flagship "productivity" programs - able to run in a web browser. The move is meant to help confront rivals such as Google Inc. that offer free word processing and spreadsheet programs online, threatening one of Microsoft's most precious profit centres. Click here for more.

Mac the News

MSEC Investigating Jobs' Heart Attack Story: The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has launched an investigation into whether the false claims that Apple CEO Steve Jobs suffered a heart attack were meant to drive down Apple's pricey stock. Click here for more.

Unix, Linux and Open Source

Wikipedia dumps Red Hat for Ubuntu: The Wikimedia Foundation, the non-profit entity behind the Wikipedia online encyclopedia, has finished the porting of its IT infrastructure - including most servers and desktops - to the Ubuntu variant of Linux. Click here for more.

Open source - it's all about choice: There have always been people in society who help others just because they can - the cub scout leader, the charity volunteer, the community clean up group, they all contribute to making the world a better place. Click here for more.

The Weird, Wide Web

Internet advert hires decoys for bank raid: An online advertisement offered US$28.50 ($44) an hour to anyone who wore a blue, long-sleeved shirt, yellow safety vest, eye protection and ventilator mask and waited near a bank. Click here for more.

Anne Hathaway falls for Nigerian scammer: Anne Hathaway has joked that her new boyfriend is an incredible wealthy Nigerian Prince she met when she received a random email. Click here for more.

Parents use web poll to name baby: Jason and Ann Morrison are expecting their first child next month and, as one would expect from a Google engineer, they've asked the internet to name the baby. Click here for more.

Aliens to arrive today: psychic: The internet is buzzing with rumours that aliens will announce themselves to the world today in a spaceship that will be visible in Earth's skies for three days, Britain's Daily Star reported. Click here for more.

Sickie faker busted by Facebook: A Sydney telco employee has learned the hard way the perils of sharing too much information on Facebook after he was caught by his boss faking a sickie after a big night out. 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.

Firm bans e-mail at work: John Caudwell, the multi-millionaire owner of high street retailer Phones 4u, has banned staff from using e-mail, he has said. The tycoon – who does not use e-mail – told more than 2,500 employees Friday they would have to swap cyberspace for face-to-face. Click here for more.

Woman sentenced for reading e-mail of husband's ex-wife: A judge sentenced an Arizona woman to 60 days home detention for intercepting her husband's ex-wife's e-mail, saying the penalty is a warning to others who might be tempted to do the same. Click here for more.

Microsoft launches 'leak-proof' e-mail: The latest version of Microsoft's popular Office software will, the company claims, allow users to send e-mails that will "self-destruct" after a set time. The development is designed to improve security - and avoid potentially embarrassing messages coming back to haunt senders. Microsoft says users will also be able to restrict who is allowed to read an e-mail – and prevent recipients from forwarding messages to other users or printing them off. 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 November and don't forget to vote!

Rob Zorn 


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