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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 February Actrix Online Informer

Welcome to the February 2010 Actrix Online Informer.

For those of us in the lower North Island, this has been the worst summer in living memory. Here's hoping we do a little better in February. Wherever you are I hope you've had a decent break and that, whether you're back at work or school, 2010 is shaping up well for you.

I hope this Actrix Online Informer contains something of interest fro you.

Rob Zorn


A few more 2009 "best ofs"

Last issue we published links to a number of "best of" lists for 2009. That list was prepared pretty early in December 2009 and, of course, quite a few more "best of" lists came out in late December/Early January. Here are just a few worth noting.

Stuff's Weirdest internet moments of 2009 is a fun read. "From the German town that unwittingly advertised pornography on its website to the American who interrupted his wedding to update his Facebook and Twitter accounts, the world was full of weird internet stories in 2009.

What you clicked on Stuff in 2009. While many days on Stuff are dominated by stories about celebrities, or yarns that make you raise your eyebrows, hard and breaking news dominated the most-clicked stories Ė those that received the highest number of "hits" from itsreaders.

The BBC's Month by month internet highlights of 2009 runs through the year detailing interesting things that happened in the online world during each month of last year. "It was the year of Keyboard Cat, the Pope getting his own YouTube Channel, and the 20th anniversary of Sir Tim Berners-Lee inventing the world wide web.

The BBC also breaks the year down month-by-month for Twitter. This story provides an interesting overview of just how important Twitter has become in shaping opinion and spreading news. 2009 even saw the first court order served over Twitter!

CNN polled a handful of the most tech-savvy folks they knew for their thoughts on the worst moments in technology from 2009 – the most epic "fails" of the year.

Here's a link to Computerworld's New York-sourced article on the Top 10 tech stories of the decade.

The worst ideas of the decade. These sorts of stories are always interesting. You might agree that the idea that house prices will always rise was the baddest idea or that some of the tactics used in Afghanistan were a bit dodgy. But I think television dance competitions are right up there among the worst mistakes of the noughties.

And for something a little bit different, here's a New Zealand Herald article about five high-profile trials that captured public attention during 2009.

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Actrix online help

You may or may not have been aware that the Actrix website is just brimming with internet help. If you click Online Help in the main menu of our website, you may find yourself getting help for things you didn't know you needed help with.

Internet help

Have you recently upgraded your browser to the latest version? Did you know you can access our tutorials on how to set up things like the phishing filter and organise bookmarks (favourites) as well as a number of other things in IE7? Similar guides exist for earlier versions of Internet Explorer, and for browsers like Firefox and Safari, and IE8 stuff is coming soon.

Virus help

This page sums up how the built in Actrix virus scanners help keep unwanted nasties out of your email. But it also has tips on where you can get free anti-virus programs of your own, and what you should do to help keep your computer safe and secure.

Dialup connections

Every time Microsoft puts out a new operating system (that means versions of Windows such as XP, Vista, and the latest – Windows 7) they seem to change how dialup networking works, and where it can be found. This section contains everything you need to know to get your dialup connection working, no matter what operating system you have. Helpful screen shots are included.

Cyberjet connections

Most people are now on broadband, so it's good to know there's a lot of information for Actrix high-speed internet users in our help pages. Sections include how to set up various broadband modems, an explanation of what traffic is (to help make sense of all the different types of bytes), what can affect your speed, and basic trouble-shooting.


We also have a small collection of tutorials, such as on how to use your free Actrix home page, how to make the most of search engines, and, if you're interested, how web browsers work and how they know where to go to get your chosen website.

Email help

There are lots of little sections here devoted to various aspects of email. Are you getting more spam than usual and wonder why? Do you want to know what sorts of email services we support? This section will answer such questions. The PC and Mac sections have tutorials with screenshots to help you set up whatever email program you might have.

Internet security

The last section covers off all the things you need to think about to keep yourself safe online. Topics include: firewalls, security updates, identifying dodgy sites and tips for better passwords.

So, why not head on over and click Online help in our main menu? Have a browse around and see what's there. And, of course, if you're ever stuck with anything to do with your Actrix internet service, give our helpful help desk staff a call on 0800-228749 (8am until 11pm 24/7).

They're a great bunch of guys and girls who love the internet and thrive on being helpful. We're not sure why they're so good. We think there must be something in the water...

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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).


Jeanette writes: Dear Editor, I don't know who to e-mail so hope you can help me. I have been downloading e-mails, but can't download one message and there are another lot of messages that I can't get to. Please advise me what I can do. Thanks. Jeanette

Hi Jeanette, If your inbox is blocked, then you wonít receive this message, so Iíve asked the help desk to give you a call. When one message has become corrupt or is too big to download it can be a real problem as it stops you getting to any emails that are behind it. When this happens, often the best thing to do is to log into your Actrix mailbox using Actrix webmail. You should be able to spot which email is causing the problem, and you can then delete it manually. Once done, fire up your email program again, and you should have no problem getting through.

You can access your webmail via the Actrix home page and the My Actrix log in box. You will just need to know your user name and password.

And the best address to email with problems is support@actrix.co.nz.

I hope that helps.


Gillian writes: So I thought it would be great if I had a calendar option on My Actrix so I could print out my week's appointments and put it in my car every Monday so I'd always know where I was going and who I was seeing!  Is there such an option on My Actrix as I can't find it?

Hi Gillian, It sounds like an online calendar is just thing you need. However, it isnít a feature of My Actrix, and itís not one weíre likely to add. There are all sorts of reasons for that, and one of them is that there are perfectly good online calendars/organisers out there. Probably the best one of all is the one offered by Google that comes with your free Gmail account.

If you donít have a Gmail account, you can sign up for one at www.gmail.com. Gmail lets you send web-based email, but you donít have to use that feature if you donít want to. It also comes with a pretty funky calendar system that has lots of options, and itís easy to add items to it.. You can log into Gmail from anywhere on any computer with access to the Internet, so it should solve your problem of occasionally leaving your diary behind.

Gmail calendars can also be shared with other people, or you can set them to being private, so make sure you check out all the options and account settings. There are also facilities for uploading documents that you might need to access from anywhere, so itís really quite powerful. Best of all, it will send you an email to remind you of things you've entered into it.

Itís not too hard to use, so Iíd encourage you to log in and have a bit of play around. Hopefully youíll pick it up in no time!

Henrietta asks: Can you please advise me of the rights of a child regarding photos on Facebook? I know of a family where a person they know has put photos of the family's 3-year-old child on his Facebook page. The parents of the child do no want them on his Facebook page. Is it illegal to have them on? What can they do about getting them off his Facebook page?

Hi Henrietta, This can be a delicate and difficult situation. It is not illegal to put photos of children on Facebook, even when they're not your own children, and Facebook won't remove any photos posted unless they violate their terms of use (e.g. pornography or copyrighted images). So if these photos pose some sort of obvious threat to the children, you may have a case if you complain. To complain you can simply click the "Report this photo" link that appears below any photo on Facebook.

The best recourse your friends have is to talk to the person who has put the photos up. I would think that most reasonable people would respect a request from the parents of the kids that the photos not be used.

As a last option, they could leave a calm comment on the photos such as, "John, we've repeatedly asked you to remove these photos of our children and would appreciate you doing so." This may embarrass the person into removing them. However, I would suggest caution here too. If this person is so insensitive as to refuse a reasonable request, a "comment war" could make things even worse. They could also simply remove your comment from their Facebook page.

It's a toughie and I hope your friends can get this sorted.

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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!

100 skills everyone should master
http://mightygirl.com/2009/12/30/100-skills-everyone-should-master/ – In 2008, Esquire published 75 Skills Every Man Should Master and Popular Mechanics published a list of 100 Skills Every Man Should Know. This list was inspired by those ones but also from the belief that someone should do a list of gender neutral skills. It's an interesting list with occasional links to more information about how you can master the skills.
More tips about making and keeping New Year's resolutions than you could want
– Did you make many New Year's resolutions on 1 January? Are you keeping them? The fact is, according to The Happiness Project, most people make and break the same resolution year after year. In fact, about 80 percent of resolution-makers abandon their resolutions by mid-February. However, says the Happiness Project, keeping resolutions is a key to happiness. "If you want to make a positive change in your life, you need to figure out what to resolve, and how to keep that resolution." Here's a page of links to all sorts of tips and encouragement.
New Scientist's favourite picture galleries
www.newscientist.com/article/dn18319-2009-review-favourite-picture-galleries.html – Here's a long list of New Scientist's most popular picture galleries for 2009. All sorts of scientific and curious topics feature such as what is the remotest place on the face of the earth (and there aren't that many remote places left), ten sci-fi devices that are nearing reality, bizarre devices from medicine's dark past, and more!

How big a liar are you?
www.liespeopletell.com/featured/quizes/howbigaliar/how001.html Ė This reasonably short and amusing test of 25 questions will help reveal whether you are a pathological liar, a big liar, an average liar, a simple fibber or a saint. And because you get the results online, you know you can trust them 100 percent.
Get high now
http://gethighnow.com/ – This may not be what you think but it's still pretty cool. Get High Now offers 40 audio and visual illusions to be experienced and then their scientific explanations. Risset rhythms seem to get faster and faster, yet not if you time them by tapping your foot. Shepard tones get higher and higher (or lower and lower) yet never change key. Binaural beats and theta-wave synchronisations make you feel different – and you're not just imagining things; the changes they induce can be seen with fMRI. And then there's the highly intoxicating chronosynclastic infundibulum, which remains a mystery to science.
The most beautiful woman imaginable
http://i.imgur.com/E60Jv.jpg – So what happens if you take the 16 most beautiful women on the planet and morph them in pairs, and then morph those pairs and then morph those pairs again. You should end up with the most beautiful woman imaginable, and one at least four times as beautiful as any of the original 16, right? Actually, by the second morph, they're all already starting to look very similar.
Horoscope online
www.mockery.org/horoscope/ – "The world is changing rapidly – every day there are new innovations in science, technology and cake decorating. No wonder more and more people are turning to astrology to make sense of their future and to find stability in this turbulent world. Our team of mediums, spiritualists, mind readers and orthodontists are waiting online to create a personalised daily horoscopes especially for you." My lucky colour was "yellow-ochre" and my lucky number was 106,542. Hmmmm, somehow I don't think these guys are taking this all that seriously...
Vincent van Gogh: the letters
www.vangoghletters.org/vg/ – Vincent van Goghís letters are widely known and have been eagerly seized as a rich source of information about his gripping life story and exceptional work. This website allows you to read these letters, translated into English if your Dutch is a little rusty, and organised by place, correspondent or period. Simply click on the category you'd like (or use Search if you're interested in something in particular. The site will then let you choose from a few options as to how you'd like the letters displayed, and away you go!
Rattle ya dags
www.rattleyadags.co.nz/ – "Over 100 Kiwis from sports, business, arts and entertainment take part in Rattle ya dags. Each speaker is asked to share advice, tips or inspiration based on their own personal experience. All of them write their own material and donate their time free of charge. Check back each day to discover more inspirational Kiwis in Rattle ya dags."
www.wordnik.com/ – "Wordnik is a place for all the words, and everything known about them. Our goal is to show you as much information as possible, as fast as we can find it, for every word in English... By "information," we don't just mean traditional definitions (although we have plenty of those)!" Once you've typed your word in, choose from the Examples, Pronunciations, Etymologies, Related, Statistics and Comments tabs to find out even more.


Cyberspace news snippets

What's been happening in the online world?

New Zealand

NZ's cyber spies win new powers: New cyber-monitoring measures have been quietly introduced giving police and Security Intelligence Service officers the power to monitor all aspects of someone's online life. Click here for more.

Study shows broadband brings productivity gains: New Zealand businesses with broadband were 10 per cent more productive than businesses without it, a world-first study by Motu Economic and Public Policy Research has found. Click here for more.

Kiwis flock to TradeMe for regifting: About 5000 unwanted Christmas gifts have already been listed for auction on TradeMe as New Zealanders take up the concept of "regifting". Click here for more.

Blog breached suppression orders, say police: The first blogger to be charged with breaching court-ordered suppression orders says he will defend his actions because the laws which protect people's identities need changing. Click here for more.

Mobile broadband subscriptions grow by 53 percent: Broadband adoption in New Zealand is continuing to grow strongly, with mobile and wireless connections standing out in analyst Paul Budde's latest market analysis. Click here for more.

Too tubby to be gorgeous, so NZ pair get the push: Two New Zealanders who put on weight over Christmas have been expelled from a social networking site that lets only good-looking people sign up. Click here for more.

Twitter user has unwelcome double: The difference between an American politician and a New Zealand web designer should be clear – but online the two have crossed wires with amusing results. Click here for more.

Internet scammers hit Kiwis: An international internet scam has caught several New Zealanders and cost them money. The fraudsters offer fake accommodation and trick victims into sending bond and rent money after targeting flat-finder websites worldwide. Click here for more.

Trade Me deals spark bomb warning: A Wellington student using Trade Me to pedal dozens of ingredients which can be used to make explosives has shocked experts who warn they are potential weapons for terrorists or arsonists. Click here for more.

Downloading porn 'more acceptable: More Kiwis think it's more acceptable to download porn than to illegally download copyrighted material, according to a survey. Click here for more.

InternetNZ continues to oppose disconnection penalty: InternetNZ is continuing to oppose disconnection as a penalty for online copyright infringement and is arguing that any such penalty should be limited to a period of a week. Click here for more.

Facebook politics: Mallard defriends Turei: Mr Mallard thought the Green Party co-leader had been rude on his Facebook page so he defriended her and she blogged that she was sad about that. Click here for more.

Laws denies praising himself on internet: Wanganui mayor Michael Laws has denied he is the author of anonymous internet comments praising his performance, but says they could have been made by someone close to him. Click here for more.

InternetNZ rejects internet filtering: InternetNZ (Internet New Zealand Inc) has released a position paper rejecting centralised internet filtering as an acceptable approach for New Zealand. Click here for more.


Teen posts sister's 'hook-up list' on Facebook : A cautionary tale of the perils of social networking site Facebook has emerged from America after a teenage boy took revenge on his older sister, who had told their parents he was stashing booze in his bedroom. Click here for more.

Increasing numbers use internet before seeing GP: More Kiwis are using the internet to self-diagnose and are challenging doctors based on online information, a new survey shows. Click here for more.

Facebook fugitive taunts police: An escaped British prisoner is taunting police and attracting a growing Internet fan base from his Facebook profile, mocking authorities for failing to find him and openly musing about moving across the Atlantic. Click here for more.

Twitter to map locations: Twitter is buying a startup called Mixer Labs in an effort to pinpoint the locations of people posting short messages on its service. Click here for more.

Facebook sex blackmail teen facing 50 years: A Wisconsin teenager who blackmailed dozens of fellow high school students into sex acts by using photos and videos obtained in a Facebook scam is facing up to 50 years in prison after pleading no contest to two felonies. Click here for more.

Facebook rewrites rules of travel: Isahrai Azaria is heading to Austin, Texas, in February, and thanks to Facebook, she already has 40 acquaintances, an invitation to go water tubing, and a line on the best vegetarian lunch place in town Click here for more.

Parents trap Facebook fiend: A British couple posing as their young daughter on Facebook have trapped a man who was grooming the girl for sex. Click here for more.

Google loses Canadian Groovle domain name claim: A Canadian company behind a search engine called Groovle.com has won a case filed against it by online search giant Google. Click here for more.

How internet-based music services make their money: Since the launch of Apple's iTunes in 2003, digital music has become big business. A number of new music services have sprung up on the internet, offering legitimate opportunities for people to listen to or buy tracks online. Click here for more.

Digital piracy hits the e-book industry: Digital piracy, long confined to music and movies, is spreading to books. And as e-readers, smartphones and touch-screen "tablets" boost demand for digital books, experts say the problem may get worse. Click here for more.

Mozilla unveils Firefox interface ideas for 2010: Mozilla says its planned overhaul of Firefox's interface will be pushed back to Firefox 4.0, the major release now slated to ship before the end of 2010. Click here for more.

Tweet yourself thin with web scales: If you've resolved to trim inches off your waist this year, a new set of scales which "tweets" your weight to the world may provide the incentive you need to keep your resolution. Click here for more.

Skype newlyweds dream of their first kiss: In a brief ceremony the groom, surrounded by friends from his unit at Bagram, and the bride, in a small study at her home, tied the knot in an online wedding with help of Skype, the online video conferencing program. Click here for more.

Will internet kill the video store?: The movie rental business is under threat from faster broadband speeds that allow consumers to download films without leaving home. Australian economists predict the movie rental industry in their country will lose up to $20 million this year. Click here for more.

Privacy threatened by online life: Online exhibitionists who share intimate photos and life stories affect the privacy of everyone, claims an academic. Click here for more.

Revealing Facebook posts promote cancer awareness: Facebook took a colorful turn this week, when its female users began posting cryptic status updates. "Beige," "crimson red," "turquoise," read some. The colour scheme has left male users scratching their heads and asking "Huh?" Click here for more.

Google removes racist website from results: Google has agreed to take down links to a website that promotes racist views of indigenous Australians. Click here for more.

Finding your other selves on Facebook: What if you set out to find yourself and ended up with 200 of you? Like some kind of schism in the time-space continuum. Or a breach of The Matrix. Or Facebook. Click here for more.

'Hardcore' downloader asks for new trial after $900K fine: A US graduate student who was ordered to pay four record labels a combined US$675,000 (NZ$919,000) for downloading and sharing songs online is asking a judge to grant him a new trial or reduce the damages. Click here for more.

'I hate the net' - Ron Jeremy: Ron Jeremy is, apparently, a legend in his own profession and, as I discovered, very well-known to a certain section of the American population. Click here for more.

The Internet ruined my life: Recently the number of options for wasting time on my computer reached a critical mass of craziness. E-mail. Blogs. Social networks. Podcasts. E-books. Three full seasons of Lou Grant on streaming video. Click here for more.

Avoiding Facebook faux-pas: Thanks to the explosion of online social networking, the "sticky situations" in life's social stratosphere just became a whole lot messier. With more than 300 million Facebook users posting their life and times for all their friends – and sometimes the world – to see, the global meet and greet has become a lesson in new-age manners and misdemeanours. Click here for more.

How has the net changed your thinking?: John Brockman is an American intellectual entrepreneur. Every year he asks the world's brainiest people a Big Question then publishes their answers in a book and online. This year's Big Question is: How is the Internet changing the way you think? Click here for more.

International Domains Are About to Go Global: Since its inception, the English language and Latin characters have dominated all that constituted the Internet, including domain names, owing to the network's origins in the United States. With the Internet going global, other languages have requested representation. Now they are about to get it. Click here for more.

Firefox 3.6 Gets Speedier, New Enhancements: Six months after the last big Firefox release, Mozilla is rolling out Firefox 3.6. The new browser, which began its life under the codename "Namaroka", includes numerous enhancement over its predecessor, Firefox 3.5. Click here for more.

Australia's net censorship plan: Australia is about to move to the small town of censor-ville. Their neighbours? Iran, China and Saudi Arabia. Click here for more.

Legal downloads up, but piracy still rules: Strong growth in digital music sales last year led by Lady Gaga failed to stop the continuing slump in the international recorded music industry, and pirates remain a serious problem, according to an industry body. Click here for more.

Security and Safety

Malware Targeting Adobe, Social Sites in 2010: Security player McAfee runs down its picks for malware creators' highest-priority targets in the coming year. Click here for more.

Hacking – easy as abc123: You may be leaving the door to your online accounts wide open. An analysis of tens of millions of leaked passwords reveals the most common are basic number strings such as "123456" and obvious keywords including "password" and "abc123". Click here for more.

Firefox, Opera surge after IE security scare: Internet browsers Firefox and Opera have experienced a massive surge in downloads since the security flaw in Microsoft Internet Explorer 6 (IE6) was exposed. Click here for more.

More IE security holes found: A security research firm said it discovered another set of vulnerabilities in Internet Explorer, days after Microsoft patched the web browser following a high-profile cyber attack on Google in China. Click here for more.

Mainly Microsoft

German government warns against using MS Explorer: The German government has warned web users to find an alternative browser to Internet Explorer to protect security. The warning from the Federal Office for Information Security comes after Microsoft admitted IE was the weak link in recent attacks on Google's systems. Click here for more.

The Weird, Wide Web

Weirdest internet moments of 2009: From the German town that unwittingly advertised pornography on its website to the American who interrupted his wedding to update his Facebook and Twitter accounts, the world was full of weird internet stories in 2009. Click here for more.

Motorised 'drinking couch' on TradeMe: Even among the most unusual offerings on TradeMe, one from Hamilton stands out. Ryan Ogle is attempting to sell a combination of a motorbike and a couch Ė with a buy-now price of $999,999. Click here for more.

Shock over deadly internet choking craze: Children are posting videos on the internet showing them choking other youngsters to the point of collapse, in a craze that doctors warn has led to brain damage and death. Click here for more.

Fancy a hug? Make your bids, me hearties: He ain't no Johnny Depp but Jacob Tannahill-Swift will dress up like a pirate and give you one of the best hugs you've ever had if you are willing to pay the price. 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.

Kiwis embrace online shopping: If New Zealanders were initially slow to shop online in the early days of the internet, they certainly caught up last year. Click here for more.

10 things that make you forward e-mails: What is it about the best e-mails which makes them so compelling? Click here for more.

Who owns your e-mail after you die?: When L/Cpl Justin Ellsworth was killed in Iraq, his father decided to create a memorial to his dead son using the e-mails he wrote and received while in the Middle East. Click here for more.

VXers creating 150 zombie programs a week: Malicious programs capable of turning home PCs into zombies controlled by hackers are growing at between 150 to 200 per week. Click here for more.

Man auctions ad space on forehead: A 20-year-old US man is selling advertising space on his forehead to the highest bidder on website eBay. 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 February!

Rob Zorn


Copyright © 2010 Actrix Networks Limited | Contact: editor@actrix.co.nz