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    October 2009 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

A stroll down Memory Lane!

Welcome to the October Actrix Online Informer. This is a special issue for me as it marks 10 straight years of Actrix Online Informers.

The first ever Actrix newsletter/Online Informer was issued in October 1999 when I'd only been with Actrix for a few short months. Back in the 90s the Internet was a reasonably new phenomenon, though it was quickly catching on. Just about everybody was on dial up and some were still on 14.4 kbps modems (about a quarter the speed of today's standard 56 kbps dial up modems).

Actrix was pretty small back then with just 7000 customers and there weren't many small ISPs like us around. In order to compete with the likes of Telecom, Clear, Paradise and iHug, we had to find a point of difference, and, being a small ISP, we didn't have a lot of leverage to negotiate with the big wholesale provider of the day. We almost went broke trying to compete on price so instead we decided to compete on the basis of what we knew we had. Management and the chaps on the help desk were genuinely nice guys (there weren't many women in IT back then).

When we came up with the free customer newsletter idea, our purpose was to give customers something for nothing. In other words, its primary purpose would be to inform, educate and entertain customers without any hard sell or pressure to buy anything. We do occasionally advertise products, but this was never to be the focus or the first thing to feature, and over time we've used the newsletter/Online Informer for advertising less and less. Requests from others to advertise in the newsletter were almost always politely turned down.

Themes and topics were always centred around helping customers make the most of the Internet. We were all pretty excited about all the wonderful things you could do with the Net (like Internet banking which was really novel at the time) and at the incredible amount of information you could access (even if a lot of it was dubious).

At the help desk, however, we were noticing that a lot of customers didn't really understand a lot of what the Internet could do for them. Most had little idea of how the Internet worked (which meant they didn't often know how to figure out what was going wrong) and there was little appreciation for the risks the Internet posed to security etc. So the newsletters/Online Informers have always followed a formula of at least one article about a benefit of the net or how to keep safe, a section of news snippets so people could keep up with developments in the Internet, and the Interesting Sites section which has always been the most popular.

Enter the Nerd

To add some interest, we introduced Norrie the Nerd in the second issue. Norrie was a technical wiz who could solve any Internet problem, but he had a little bit of trouble with his ego. He provoked a lot of positive responses, however, when he challenged customers to stump him on an Internet-related technical problem. You can be sure a lot of the challenges had us all consulting madly behind the scenes, but we could usually figure them out so Norrie could provide an answer. We even had Norrie shaped chocolate bars made. They were to send to customers who suggested a website or made some sort of contribution to the newsletters/Online Informers, but an awful lot of them also got eaten by staff.

We made Norrie an ex-employee of a major New Zealand telco and wrote a user homepage for him so we could have a bit of a humorous dig at a big company we didn't think was treating us (or New Zealand) very fairly at the time. I've put Norrie's home page up again in case anyone is interested in having a look. However, just about at the time he had out-lived his usefulness, and before he got past chapter 3 of his memoirs, Norrie was killed in a an unfortunate accident in his office that involved static electricity, an unloaded stapler and a cold cup of tea. We don't really want to talk about it.

The truth is, Norrie was a lot of fun, but he was starting to take up too much of my time. A second problem was that the sheer volume of marriage proposals to Norrie from enamoured female customers was getting out of hand!

In 2005 I left Actrix to start my own business, but it was felt the newsletter/Online Informer was popular enough with customers to keep going, so I've continued to do it on a contract basis. It's been fun, so I guess we'll keep doing it. If people want to read past newsletters/Online Informers, there's an archive of them in the left hand column of each issue.

Not only is the newsletter/Online Informer 10 years old; it is also the twentieth anniversary of Actrix. Many may not know that Actrix was the first commercial ISP to operate in New Zealand. The company actually grew out of the back yard hobby of its owner and took on its first customers in 1989. Over the years the company has had a few shifts in management and ownership, but the core value of being different by genuinely treating customers well has remained. It's true, we may not always have managed that, but it was certainly the intent. Customer feedback and our excellent ratings with Consumer tend to support that assertion.

Anyway, that will probably do for our stroll down Memory Lane. Happy birthday Actrix, and RIP Norrie.

Rob Zorn

How to become, or at least seem, better at life

One of the wonderful things about the Internet is that there's no shortage of bloggers and wise guys out there ready to give you advice about how you can be a better person. If that's not possible, there are also plenty of tips available on how to appear smarter or better at things. Here's a short collection rounded up from a few of the 'self-help' blogs and websites.

How to add five consecutive numbers quickly

Here's a "bar trick" you can use to impress your friends and workmates. Bet someone you can add any five consecutive numbers quicker than they can (or more quickly than they could do it on a calculator) using this simple trick. It still takes a bit of mental arithmetic, but nowhere near as much as it would if you actually mentally added up the numbers.

Speak up to look smarter than you are

Although you may have committed yourself to keeping your mouth shut unless you absolutely had something critical to add to a business meeting, you may be doing yourself a disservice. Frequent talkers are perceived as more intelligent and competent.

The trick won't work if you have no idea what's going on, of course. If you pipe up in the middle of a board meeting by yelling out, "We should move all the cattle to the Indo-China region!" nobody is going to think you more competent for your interjection.

How to do something difficult

Here are some tips on how to overcome difficulties and avoid being delightfully average. The key is to stop playing it safe without becoming foolish.

"Increasing your personal abilities is just like increasing your strength. You have to exercise in order to get stronger. If you want to grow as an individual, you have to do things that are hard in order to make it easier for you to do difficult things in the future."

How to stop taking things personally

Does someone else's bullying personality make you feel like you're worthless? Do you mistake people's antics for subtle insults? This article will highlight some ways in which you can remain unaffected by others' opinion of you, whether it's a weird look, a teasing remark, or a direct criticism.

Six tips for good deeds that take less than five minutes

"Do good, feel good" is one of the great truths of happiness – but you may be thinking, “Sure, good deeds would make me happy, but I barely have time to get through the essentials of my day. I don’t have time to do any good deeds!”

Wrong. Here are some ways that you can help other people – and make yourself feel great at the same time—in less than five minutes.

The mathematics of gambling

No one can predict the future, but the powers of probability can help.

When Edward Thorp, a mathematics student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, went to a casino some 45 years ago, he knew pretty well where the ball was going to land. He walked away with a profit, took it to the racecourse, the basketball court and the stock market, and became a multimillionaire. He wasn't on a lucky streak, he was using his knowledge of mathematics to understand and beat the odds.

The 'Are You Drifting?' quiz

Here's another one from the Happiness Project. Take the quiz to work out whether you're adrift. A person who's adrift won't decide on something, or won't take responsibility for the consequences of the decisions they make.

How to naturally reset your sleep cycle in one night

Not eating for 12-16 hours can help people quickly reset their sleep-wake cycle, according to a study from the Harvard Medical School. This discovery may drastically improve a person's ability to cope with jet lag or adjust to working late shifts. But seriously, 12-16 hours without eating?

Ten unusual ways to appear more confident

The person that appears confident is often not as confident as they appear. They just simply do a few things well. They walk in a way that appears confident. Their eyes seem alert. They stand tall. They have a faint appeal that you can’t quite put your finger on. You feel fine talking to them, but not to most people. They’re not wired differently than you. They just do a few clever things. Now you can do them too!

Seven tips for knowing if you're boring someone

Just because a person isn’t actually walking away or changing the subject doesn’t mean that person is genuinely engaged in a conversation. In fact the more socially adept a person is, the better he or she is at hiding boredom. Here are some factors to watch for when trying to figure out if you're not being very interesting.

Big changes or small changes?

There are two ways to make a major change in your life. One is to make a series of small changes – this month you might brown-bag your lunch one day a week; next month you might go for a short walk every day. The other is to make all your changes at once – cook all your own meals, exercise daily, and turn your hobby into a business. Either way can produce permanent changes for the better.

Being green: 11 environmentally friendly habits

The first couple of these are probably only relevant to Americans, but keep reading for some useful tips on how to live a little bit more greenly.

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Money management sites: reader recommendations

A couple of readers responded to last month's article 'Online help for tough financial times', by suggesting sites they also find helpful in managing their money.

Kate writes: You could try listing www.simplesavings.co.nz. Its parent is www.simplesavings.com.au and the two sites are linked as one. There is a third running in the US as well – they all link to the same online community.

It has a lot of free stuff including monthly newsletters, you can also join the site for a fairly nominal fee of $47, which sometimes drops lower when they run specials. I have belonged to Simple Savings for 3-4 years now, and will continue to renew my membership ad infinitum.

Shula writes: Hi, thanks for the budget tips. www.whostolemymoney.com is a very good New Zealand site which enables you to download your bank statements and easily categorise them into different areas and analyse spending.

I also have a fun money personality quiz on my website www.fullbalance.co.nz which is a good start for people that are ready to do better with their finances.


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 (www.actrix.co.nz).


Steve writes: Hi Rob, you may not remember me I but I used your advice last April to research Craigslist in the USA and we purchased an RV and drove from Vancouver down to San Diego, across the country to Washington DC, up to Boston and back across the top of the States to Vancouver where we sold the RV, again using Craigslist. Your recommendation was much appreciated!

I am emailing to let you know that I highly recommend the www.travelpod.com site for anyone who might want to setup a travel blog – it was easy to use and people following our journey really enjoyed using it.

Also I wanted to point out a YouTube video I made of two groups of year 9 students from Napier Girls High School. I was asked to create a programme for 20 gifted and talented students.
I got them to tune wine bottles and arrange them so we could play the New Zealand national anthem on rollerblades. Here are the links to the You tube clips:

www.youtube.com/watch?v=tXqwOEr1_KY – group 1
www.youtube.com/watch?v=dOel_0zBp0A – group 2

Keep us the great work with the Informer – I enjoy following your various links and reading your advice on different matters.

Hi Steve, it sounds like an awesome trip, and I'm glad using Craigslist made it a bit easier. How incredibly small the Internet has made the world when your friends can easily follow your travels overseas online. Thanks also for the YouTube videos which I think are pretty neat!


Eleanor writes: When I am away, I sometimes like to check my emails, and send some out. So I go to my account through the Actrix website and sign on. Everything looks different, which unnerves me, and there are only about 12 emails sitting there (rather than about 1200 when I sign on at home). In fact only the ones that I have accessed/sent through the website over the years show up. None of my normal personal information, like addresses, is there. Am I doing something wrong? I know that the emails I send get through, because I get answers.

Hi Eleanor, The problem here Is that logging into Actrix webmail is not the same thing as logging into your machine at home. Normally, what happens is that your email program logs into your mailbox here at Actrix and downloads your mail for you. When that happens, it deletes the mail from your mailbox here, and the email now 'lives' on your computer only.

When you log into webmail, you're logging straight into your mailbox here. It won’t contain any of the emails your email program has downloaded. You’ll only be able to see new emails, in other words. This is also why you can only see sent emails that you have sent through webmail.

One thing you can do that might help a bit is set your email program not to delete emails from your mailbox after it has downloaded them to your computer. That way, at least all the emails you sent to you would still be visible when you logged in. This can be dangerous, though because eventually you will exceed your mailbox size quota and mail to you will bounce. So you’d need to log into webmail periodically and delete accumulated emails. The setting to 'Leave a copy of emails on the server' is usually found under Tools/Accounts/Advanced.


Bryan writes: Dear Readers Forum, I recently downloaded some movie trailers and have tried to save them to a flash drive so that I could delete them from my hard-drive to free up space. All except one moved OK. This one is a ".mov" file and will not move, rename or delete. Whenever I try anything, a "cannot move " message tells me it is being used by another person or programme. How do I get rid of this file? I am running XP professional. Bryan

Hi Bryan, Yes, this sort of thing can be a bit frustrating. One powerful way to delete files that just seem to sit there immutably is to use the command prompt. To use the command prompt, you will need to know the exact path to the file you want to delete (e.g.) c:\documents and settings\bryan\my documents\videos\movie.mov. You can usually find that out by right-clicking on the file, left-clicking on Properties and writing down the path information under ‘Location’.

Next, open the command prompt. In XP this can be done by clicking Start and then Run. Type ‘command’ (without the quote marks) into the box and click OK. The command prompt box will come up. Use the ‘cd’ command to change directories (one level at a time until you are in the same directory as the file you want to delete. For example, if you’re in c:\documents and settings\bryan, type in ‘cd my documents’ to move to the next directory level down. ‘Use cd..’ to move one level back up.

When you get to the folder containing the file you want to delete, type in 'del movie.mov' (substituting in the name of the file you want to kill) and press enter. That should do it. Take care when deleting things using the command prompt. It’s designed to be used by people who know what they’re doing and if you delete the wrong thing by mistake, it’s probably gone for good!

P.S. This wasn't strictly an Internet question, but I let you off because I guess the problem started when you downloaded the movie online.


Graham writes: Hi Rob, I recently had a major issue with my computer, after being serviced and a System recovery, extra ram etc. I have one issue that I can not resolve. I have Windows XP pack 3 and running Outlook Express 2003. I am unable to change the language in Spelling it only has French in there. I have searched the Windows Help and Outlook Express help with no success. I also have installed Microsoft Office Home and Student 2007. The language is set o.k. in that program. Any clues what I can do to resolve this please? Cheers Graham

Hi David, I did a bit of a Google on this one, and it seems it is a common bug, but only with the French language! It does seem, however, that there are some dictionaries you can download and install that fix the problem. This one is recommended on the Microsoft website so is probably the safest. You could try downloading it to your desk top (or somewhere where you can find it) and double-clicking it to install.


Another one is suggested here, just in case you're a man who likes choice. It seems to get good reviews from people who have used it.

The usual disclaimer. Downloading and installing these updates is unlikely to cause other problems. However, we have no control over external downloads, so we have to advise that you do this at your own risk.


Doug writes: Hi Rob, My Outlook Express 6 SP3, while otherwise compliant with font and format, lately refuses to depart from 12 point. Whilst retaining my settings in Tools/Options/Compose, even showing these in the format bar and providing the appropriate size cursor, the instant I touch a key, format bar cursor and print revert to 12 point. Cunningly composing in another program and pasting across doesnt fool it for a moment. Hoping you can help – I have been enjoying your newsletter for nine years now, and dont recall you ever being stumped.

Hi Doug, the reason I never seem stumped is because I have a collection of clever help desk people to whom I can also turn for advice.

In this case, Bernie from Actrix Support suggests: It looks like Outlook Express is set to use Stationery and Stationery Fonts. To check and change click Tools -> Options -> Compose. Unselect Mail in the Stationery section to return to plain text emails. Or click the Create New... button if you wish to use the Stationery Wizard to edit the templates or create new templates. Hope that helps!

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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!

The best free internet games
www.stuff.co.nz/technology/games/2835812/The-best-free-internet-games – "No disks, no complicated compatibility problems, absolute mobility and millions of potential users; you can see why browser games are no longer regarded by developers as ;fringe'. Modern desktop and laptop hardware has reached a kind of technological tipping point whereby games with acceptable visual quality and sound effects can now be rendered on-screen within web browsers, without requiring expensive video cards, top end processors or buckets of memory."
100 easiest, fastest recipes. Ever
www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2009/jul/19/easy-quick-recipes – To celebrate its 100th issue, The Guardian (UK) asked top chefs, foodies and cookery writers for their all-time quickest and simplest summer dishes. Here are 100 of them. Most have simple ingredients and aren't complicated to prepare. Let's hope for 100 sunny summer days this year (ha ha), so you can prepare and enjoy them one at a time!
Top 10 YouTube fail videos
http://mashable.com/2009/08/22/youtube-fail/ – "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times – but in the age of both wisdom and foolishness, somehow it always seems like the latter is what gets caught on video. It may not be as highbrow as the works of Shakespeare are perceived now, but surely even the Bard could not resist a chuckle at some of the finest fails YouTube has to offer. And if laughter is truly the best medicine, we hope you enjoy this dose."

More things that do not make sense
www.newscientist.com/special/13-more-things – A little while ago we featured here a New Scientist article about 13 things in nature that just don't make sense sense. Well, they've now found 13 more! A small summary is given for each and you can then click through to further information. I think the mysterious "Bloop" of 1997 is quite fascinating. A link is provided for that one so you can actually go hear it for yourself.
Do not press
www.85qm.de/up/BigRedButton.swf – I confess I don't know what happens at the end of this because I got bored and gave up before it finished. If anyone finds the white button, please let me know!
Apostrophe abuse
www.apostropheabuse.com/ – Grammar heads (and I confess I have leanings...) love to hate those merciless abusers of apostrophes out there. Maybe the urge to display apostrophe mistakes for ridicule is motivated by simple perfectionism or affection for language. Perhaps it's a form of arrogance at having mastered the four or five simple rules around apostrophe use where others haven't that makes them do it. Whatever. If you enjoy looking at others' apostrophe mistakes, there are a number of sites out there just for you. Besides this one there's also Apostrophe Catastrophes, for example.
Cycling and walking in Wellington
www.journeyplanner.org.nz/ – The Greater Wellington's Cycling and Walking Journey Planner helps make cycling and walking even more convenient by providing straight forward directions along a direct route from A to B. Whether you are a seasoned or a novice walker or cyclist, planning a commute to work or a trip to the local shops or library, simply key in your origin and destination and in seconds you'll have all the information you need about your particular journey!.
Executed prisoners' last words
www.nytimes.com/2009/09/20/opinion/20cameron.html?_r=1 – This is a selection of quotations from the last words of prisoners executed in Texas, as collated by the New York Times. The archive's earliest entry dates from 7 December 1982. The most recent was added after Stephen Moody was executed on 16 September 2009 by lethal injection for murder. You can also click through to the Criminal Justice website which provides details about each executed prisoner and their last words in full. It's a little bit macabre, but on the other hand it's sort of important.
Dave's web of lies
www.davesweboflies.com/ – There's nothing quite so enjoyable as telling a whopper porky and having people on, but every now and then you just run out of inspiration. That's where Dave's web of lies can help. Every day a new one is posted on the site, and you can even access an archive of old ones if your repertoire really needs a boost. Most of these are pretty good lies because they almost sound plausible. Click the tabs at the top of the site for more options.
www.smugopedia.com – Smugopedia is a place where you can pretend you know better. It's a collection of slightly controversial opinions about a variety of subjects. You're offered the chance to gain a fleeting sense of self-satisfaction at the small cost of alienating your friends and loved ones by submitting your opinions. Browse the archives for others' opinions. You can even sign up to receive the 10 best smuggies regularly by email.


Cyberspace news snippets

What's been happening in the online world?

New Zealand

New internet copyright law on the way: A solution to the thorny issue of policing copyright laws on the internet is on the way, Commerce Minister Simon Power said. Click here for more.

Using Twitter to prevent suicides: A new Twitter feed has been set up to promote suicide prevention in New Zealand. Click here for more.

Facebook Lite now in NZ too: Facebook has released a slimmed-down version of its social networking website. Click here for more.

Faster rural internet a step closer: Faster internet is on the way for rural New Zealand after the Government outlined speed and coverage targets. Click here for more.

Blogger told to stop advising on immigration: A blogger who came to New Zealand from Britain has been warned to stop giving immigration advice on her blog – or face prosecution under the Immigration Advisers Licensing Act. Click here for more.

Faster, wider bandwith – but what will we do with it?: As the Government inches ahead with its $1.5 billion fibre-to-the-premises plans, the issue is going to become what to do with all that internet bandwidth. Click here for more.


Not enough Facebook friends? Buy them: Who says you can't buy friends? An Australian online marketing company is selling friends and fans to Facebook members after offering a similar service to Twitter users. Advertising, marketing and promoting company uSocial (usocial.net) said it was targeting social networking sites because of their huge advertising potential. Click here for more.

Twitter: Social tool or annoying fad?: Do people really need to know what you ate for breakfast? Jamie Hanton investigates. Click here for more.

Online politics reserved for rich: US civic engagement remains in the hands of the middle-class despite hopes that the internet would democratise political involvement. Those are the findings of a report from the Pew Internet Project. Click here for more.

Aussies call for release of web censorship trial results: Australian opposition spokesperson Nick Minchin has bought the government's proposed internet content filtering scheme back to the political forefront, criticising the government over its lack of transparency regarding the trials. Click here for more.

Barack Obama warns of Facebook perils: US president Barack Obama has warned teenagers of the dangers of putting too much personal information on Facebook and other social networking websites, saying it could come back to haunt them in later life. Click here for more.

Rock stars slam disconnection plan for pirates: Some of the biggest names in the music business, including Sir Elton John and Sir Paul McCartney, have slammed the record labels' plans to disconnect from the internet people who are caught repeatedly downloading music illegally. Click here for more.

Fighting infidelity with email: Lance Maggiacomo was out of work, bored and lonely when he started hiding his online relationships from his wife. Click here for more.

Will the web run out of numbers?: Every machine that is connected to the internet needs a unique identification number, or IP address. The problem is that with more and more people going online these "IP addresses" are running out, and could be exhausted as soon as 2011. Click here for more.

Does Twitter make you stupid?: This just in from the Department of the Sky is Falling: Twitter makes you dumber. Click here for more.

Read all about it online? It may cost you: With their advertising revenue drying up, newspaper publishers spent much of the spring and summer debating whether to cut off free online access to some of the material they run in their shrinking print editions. Click here for more.

Twitter valued at US$1b: Twitter is closing a round of funding that will value the company known for its 140-character, stream-of-consciousness blogs at US$1 billion, technology news site TechCrunch reported. Click here for more.

Torrent freaks rejoice – FCC mulls 'net neutrality' law : he head of the Federal Communications Commission plans to propose new rules that would prohibit internet service providers from interfering with the free flow of information and certain applications over their networks, an official at the agency said. Click here for more.

Program predicts your sexuality based on your Facebook friends: Two Massachusetts Institute of Technology students have developed a program they claim can accurately predict sexual orientation based on a person’s Facebook friends. Click here for more.

Chrome buries Windows rivals in browser drag race: Google's new Chrome 3.0 is the fastest of the top five Windows browsers, and beats every rival, including Apple's Safari, by comfortable margins, benchmark tests show. Click here for more.

'Noonga' website sparks racism outrage: A website set up by a Perth student about a fictional Aboriginal caricature has been shut down and is being investigated by police amid racism claims. Click here for more.

Email is causing killer stress: exec: A top business executive has blamed the massive volume of work-related emails, including on smartphones, for the stress on workers today. Click here for more.

Security and Safety

Woman conned on Facebook: A US woman was tricked into wiring about US$4000 (NZ$5900) to someone in England after receiving faked messages from a friend on Facebook asking for help. Click here for more.

Web-safety software gathers data on kids: Parents who install a leading brand of software to monitor their kids' online activities may be unwittingly allowing the developer to gather marketing data from children as young as seven – and to sell that information. Click here for more.

'Phishing' dries up – are scammers changing their game?: Internet criminals might be rethinking a favourite scam for stealing people's personal information. A report due from IBM shows a big drop in the volume of "phishing" emails, in which fraud artists send what looks like a legitimate message from a bank or some other company. Click here for more.

Software gathers data on kid's chats: Parents who install a leading brand of software to monitor their kids' online activities may be unwittingly allowing the company to read their children's chat messages - and sell the marketing data gathered. Click here for more.

Who is listening to your Skype calls?: If having your bank account hovered clean or irreplaceable data trashed by viruses and malware is keeping you awake at night, expect even more insomnia thanks to the security boffins at Symantec. Click here for more.

Swayze scareware: hackers exploit death: Hackers are exploiting the death of Dirty Dancing star Patrick Swayze to sell fake anti-virus software and to infect people with malware. Click here for more.

750,000 sex pests always prowling the web, warns UN: Some 750,000 sexual predators are constantly prowling the internet in a bid to gain contact with children, a United Nations report warns. Click here for more.

Conficker still stumps boffins: The brightest minds in technology are finding it "almost impossible" to defeat the Conficker worm, which experts say could be used to knock down the internet in entire countries. Click here for more.

The Weird, Wide Web

Online spiders to help arachnophobes overcome their fears: The instinctive reaction of an arachnophobe on encountering a spider is to flee, with some alacrity. But researchers at the University of Tasmania believe the best way to overcome fear is to confront it and they have developed an online programme – believed to be the first of its kind – to help sufferers. Click here for more.

Hard labour, baby goats for web addicts: Ben Alexander spent nearly every waking minute playing the video game World of Warcraft. As a result, he flunked out of the University of Iowa. Click here for more.

Pigeon Faster Than South Africa's Top ISP: A South African IT company on Wednesday proved it was faster for them to transmit data with a carrier pigeon than to send it using Telkom, the country's leading ISP. Click here for more.

Awkward photos return to haunt online: Matching mullets, regrettable tattoos, metal mouths and goofy grins – thanks to the internet, you can be ashamed of your past all over again. 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.

419ers launch online educational facility: Research has proven that .001 percent of the world population is completely stupid, ignorant to the world around them, and will believe anything. Click here for more.

Combating seven deadly e-mail sins: E-mail can hurt relationships and slow down business, a survey has warned – and one psychologist says a lack of e-mail etiquette is to blame. Click here for more.

UK consumers ditching high street for web shopping: UK consumers are becoming increasing savvy to the benefits of shopping online, according to research from Alliance & Leicester Personal Loans. Click here for more.

Bringing it all back home

Thanks again for reading the Actrix Online Informer. Feedback can be sent to me via the e-mail address listed below. Please limit this to comments/suggestions regarding the newsletter. Non-forum requests for support should go to the Actrix Help Desk (support@actrix.co.nz) or to the Accounts Department (accounts@actrix.co.nz).

Take care through October, and see you next month, and roll on the next 10 years!

Rob Zorn


Copyright © 2009 Actrix Networks Limited | Contact: editor@actrix.co.nz