January 2011 Topics  





    Past articles  





    Past Online Informers  





    January 2011 Topics  





    Actrix contact info  





    Essential sites  





    January 2011 Topics  





The Actrix Online Informer is published each month to help keep Actrix customers up-to-date with what's happening on the Internet, and to help ensure they have every opportunity to benefit from it.

Questions and comments about the Actrix Online Informer can be e-mailed to editor@actrix.co.nz
Other inquiries should be e-mailed to support@actrix.co.nz.

Actrix – New Zealand's first Internet Service Provider

Welcome to the January Actrix Online Informer

Welcome to the January 2011 Actrix Online Informer. We've published a little early so we can take the opportunity to wish customers all the best for the festive season. We hope you have a safe and relaxing break. Thanks you for your custom and loyalty this year.

This month's featured YouTube video is called Old Spice: The Man Your Man Could Smell Like. It's a very funny, clever and short advertisement encouraging the ladies to encourage their men to wear Old Spice (and to stop smelling like ladies). I love the presenter's sense of timing, but I'm not sure it's enough to get me to make that purchase...

Rob Zorn


The inaugural Actrix Internet Awards 2010

by Rob Zorn

Welcome to the inaugural Actrix Internet Awards! As 2010 comes to a close and 2011 can be heard whistling just around the corner, it's time to look back at what made 2010 a year worth remembering. We'll be presenting a number of awards to the websites, videos, and people on the internet that have really stood out this year, for either good or bad reasons.

Most Searched

The first award is for Google's most searched item of 2010, and it goes to Chatroulette, a Russian social-networking site that lets users video-chat online with random strangers. Apart from choosing whether you want to speak to a male or female, you really have no choice as to who you’re going to speak to. Don’t be worried if you had never heard of Chatroulette before, you haven't been missing out on much. This was really big in Eastern Europe, but failed to take off much anywhere else.

Runner-up, or “first-loser” for the "Most Searched" category goes to the iPad. Steve Jobs and the team at Apple have done it again, creating international headlines with another product that just five years ago seemed impossible.

For more on what were Google's top searches this year, see Google's Zeitgeist 2010.

Most Watched

YouTube is still the place to go for viewing videos online. In 2010, the world watched over 700 billion YouTube videos and uploaded more than 13 million hours of content. If you were to watch all the videos uploaded in 2010, it would take you almost 1500 years!

This year, the award for the most watched video goes to Antoine Dodson, an American man from the projects who was interviewed by a television reporter after someone broke into his house and assaulted his sister. His flamboyant and aggressive persona made him an internet sensation, sparking an iTunes hit, multiple covers and endorsements, and even his own t-shirt line.

Runner up for this award goes to a comedy-parody group called The Key of Awesome who parody and create spoofs of popular music. Their video Glitter Puke came in as the second most watched YouTube video of 2010, but we think it's safer to provide a link to their Batman is confused video..

For an entertaining and short video-roundup of the best of YouTube for 2010 click here.


Twitter, the social-networking and microblogging site that lets users send and read messages called tweets, nearly doubled in size in 2010. It seems that nearly everyone famous has their own Twitter account, from Barrack Obama to the Royal Family.

This month, Twitter put together a list of the most powerful tweets of 2010. Coming in at first place was a tweet from Ann Curry, a journalist who used her twitter account to persuade the US Air Force to authorise the landing of a plane that was carrying physicians to Haiti after the earthquake.

The second most powerful tweet came from the account owned by the White House, and was used to welcome Russian President Dmitry Medvedev to Twitter.

Read more about Twitter's top ten powerful tweets at this New Zealand Herald article.

Speaking of twits...

While anyone would be proud the awards we've mentioned so far, the next award belongs to the biggest twit to use a computer in 2010.

There were a number of worthy recipients for this award, so we've decided it's a tie between Facebook users Jonathan Parker and Robert Lewis Crose.

Parker, a teenager from West Virginia, was arrested and convicted for daytime burglary. Police knew who to charge after Parker forgot to sign out of his Facebook account on his victim’s computer.

Crose, who was wanted for making terrorist threats and skipping parole, had been on the run for over 12 years, made the mistake of posting his location on Facebook. It took just a quick phone call for the police to pin-point his whereabouts and make an arrest.

The final award...

No look at the past would be complete without a brief look to the future, so this award is for the website that will be most expected to succeed in 2011. One could argue that none deserve this accolade more than Facebook, Google or YouTube, which are continuing to grow in their number of users and in value.

However, this being the Christmas season, the award has to go to TradeMe. After the New Year, when all the presents have been unwrapped and the novelty of each gift is starting to wear thin, TradeMe will be inundated with auctions for all sorts of interesting and unusual items, from tangled Christmas lights to remote control helicopters and annoying Santa soft-toys that say “Ho ho ho” when thrown against a wall.

It’s a guarantee TradeMe will be the place to go for a bargain in 2011.

So there you have it, the inaugural Actrix Internet Awards! You can be sure that 2011 will present us with some new awards and a whole new list of worthy recipients.

View this article on its own... 

Accessing email while out and about

With the holiday season quickly approaching, now would be a great time to set up your mobile phone or other portable device to check your Actrix email while away from home. Enabling your portable device to send and receive emails takes only a couple of minutes and can usually be done in a few simple steps. An article explaining what information you will need appeared in the Online Informer earlier this year, and can be found here.

For those who are simply wanting to check their Actrix email address using a friend or relative's computer, all you need to do is go to our homepage and log into the My Actrix section. You will need to know your user name and password to do this. Once inside, choose Web Mail, and you should have access to all your new mail. You can send new e-mails, and reply to ones that have been sent to you.

One thing to keep in mind, though, is that this is separate from the e-mail that has already been downloaded to your home computer. Only new e-mails will appear in your Inbox (new since the time you last downloaded E-mail at home) and you won't be able to see any items you sent from home, or that you have stored in mail folders on your home computer.

If you have a question or need any help feel free to contact our friendly Support Team on either support@actrix.co.nz or 0800 228-749 any time between 8:00am and 11:00pm, seven days a week.

Holiday helpdesk Hours

The Actrix Helpdesk will be diverting calls to our after hours call centre earlier than usual on the following days:

Friday December 24 - 7:00pm
Friday December 31 - 7:00pm

The Helpdesk will be closed on Christmas Day and New Years day.

If you have a query or issue during this time please leave a message, name and number with our after hours service, or E-mail support@actrix.co.nz and we will contact you as soon as possible.


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!

One Word
http://oneword.com/ – "Simple. You’ll see one word at the top of the fol­low­ing screen. You have sixty sec­onds to write about it. Click 'go' and the page will load with the cur­sor in place. Don't think. just write. The pur­pose of this exer­cise is to learn to flow."
Zeitgeist 2010: How the world searched
www.switched.com/2010/12/11/google-zeitgeist-2010-chatroulette-ipad-search/ – "Every year Google blesses us with Zeitgeist, a roundup of what the world was searching for during the last 12 months. This year's big searches included the World Cup, the Deepwater Horizon oil spill and the earthquake in Haiti. The iPad and Chatroulette, though, were the most popular queries. Check out the year in review video after the break, and explore the Zeitgeist data here using Google's interactive HTML5 widget. "
Neil Armstrong talks about the first moon walk
www.npr.org/blogs/krulwich/2010/12/08/131910930/neil-armstrong-talks-about-the-first-moon-walk – Neil Armstrong explains why he and Buzz Aldrin only walked such a modest distances (less than a hundred yards from their lander) when they went to the moon in 1969. "Basically, he says, we were part of a team and on a perilous, one-of-a-kind journey. Improvisation was not really an option. But, reading between the lines, I kinda think he wanted to do more, go further."

One-dimensional chess variants
www.chessvariants.com/shape.dir/onedim.html – "Three dimensional chess variants are popular; two dimensional chess variants are even more popular, but it cannot be said that one dimensional chess variants are most popular. However, these may be amusing or interesting, or perhaps even analysable." You can only move 'linearly' so a few new rules are necessary, but a number of variants are provided for how it's don.
Bart's blackboard
http://bartsblackboard.com/ – The opening sequence of the The Simpsons usually finds Bart Simpson writing out punishment on a classroom blackboard – what has become known as the “chalkboard gag”. Sometimes it’s funny, sometimes it’s not. Sometimes the reference is obvious, sometimes it’s not. This site’s purpose is to capture them all for posterity – all 22 seasons.
Gullible Info
www.gullible.info/ – The Fact Check Forum claims everything on its website to be true. It's a collection of short statements of interesting facts, that is updated semi-regularly. Did you know, for example, that one quarter of Starbucks' garbage is taken up by used coffee grounds? What about the fact that a rat's sneeze contains no bacteria?
Who's Alive and Who's Dead
www.whosaliveandwhosdead.com/ – You know how when you watch an old movie and see an actor you haven't thought about in years, or you hear a song, and you wonder, "Is that person still alive?" Who's Alive and Who's Dead exists because there ought to be a place to go to find out. When the people were born and their current ages are also provided. There are lots of ways to search and browse, too. I spent more time looking through the entries than I thought I would.
The Best of Neatorama
www.neatorama.com/best-2010/ – Neatorama is a collection of really interesting blog posts from around the world on all manner of things. It's one of those great time-wasting sites where you click one interesting link, and the new page has ten more links you want to click and so on. The stories are generally of good quality, and they're usually not as scandalous as many other similar collections. On this page the best stories for the last few years are presented.
Hello Sunday Morning
http://hellosundaymorning.com.au/ – Hello Sunday Morning was started by Chris Raine, a young Australian man who started to think about the effect his regular (and often excessive) drinking was having on his potential and productivity. He decided to forgo alcohol for an entire year to challenge himself to do all the things he wanted to in life without the aid of the booze. To keep himself accountable he blogged regularly during the year, and before long many people had joined him. Hello Sunday Morning is now a collection of blogs by people who have given up the grog for a set time in order to pursue other goals. If this interests you, check out www.febfast.org.nz.
Web pages that suck
www.webpagesthatsuck.com/ – In August 1996 Vincent Flanders launched WebPagesThatSuck.com as an offshoot of the HTML classes he was teaching. In his classes he always included live sites as examples of what to do and not do and he found people really enjoyed looking at the bad sites and learning what was wrong with them. So this could be a valuable resource if you're thinking about designing a website. Others may just enjoy seeing a few of those horrible websites out there getting the negative attention they deserve.


Cyberspace news snippets

What's been happening in the online world?

New Zealand

Census officials boost online option: Statistics New Zealand is hoping a third of the population will use the internet to fill out their forms next year. Click here for more.

Quakes, Paul Henry and Bieber top Google searches: Earthquakes, Paul Henry and, of course, Justin Bieber have been revealed as the top topics capturing Kiwis' interest this year. Click here for more.

First ultrafast broadband cities named: New Plymouth, Hamilton, Tauranga, Whangarei and Wanganui will be among the first cities hooked up to ultrafast broadband under the Government's $1.35 billion scheme. Click here for more.

Homeless pets join Facebook: A new breed of user has joined Facebook to make friends - they're homeless, furry and often have a penchant for Postman Pat and the music of Lil' Bow Wow. Click here for more.

Virtual walk around Wellington's highlights: Start-up company Beek is giving the world a virtual peek at Wellington tourist attractions, restaurants and hotels. The company creates virtual walkthroughs of sites and buildings for the web to provide prospective visitors with an interactive destination guide. Click here for more.

Paul Henry is NZ's most watched on YouTube: While he isn't exactly in TVNZ's good books, it appears that Paul Henry is a big Kiwi favourite online. Click here for more.


WikiLeaks defectors plan rival site: A number of WikiLeaks defectors, including founder Julian Assange's former right-hand man, plan to launch a rival site on Monday after accusing Assange of behaving like "some kind of emperor or slave trader". Click here for more.

Who is Julian Assange?: The world's most notorious leaker of secrets grew up on an idyllic Queensland island with just 500 residents, and received no formal education. Click here for more.

New Torrent tech makes pirates tough to track: The arms race between technology and legislators is about to step up several notches as BitTorrent (the file sharing technology of choice for downloading music, movies, TV shows and applications) becomes increasingly difficult to monitor and track. Click here for more.

Alleged spam king 'sent 10 billion messages a day': A 23-year-old Russian man accused of running a worldwide spamming network, which internet-security experts say on some days accounted for one of every three unwanted emails, is scheduled to appear in a Wisconsin courtroom to hear charges against him. Click here for more.

Parents see TV, internet the same: No TV for a week, the time-honoured punishment for misbehaving children, has been enhanced. Now, parents are also withholding internet access to punish their kids, further sign that the web has become as important to families as television. Click here for more.

Firefox goes stealth in bid to increase user privacy: As concern about online privacy grows, Mozilla is promising to let people cloak internet activity in free Firefox web browsing software being released early next year. Click here for more.

Small firms in dark on web ads: survey: The opportunities of online advertising are immense but many smaller businesses have no idea whether they are reaching potential customers, a new survey has found. Click here for more.

Internet porn block 'not possible' say ISPs: UK Government plans to block pornography "at source" are unlikely to prove effective, say ISPs. Click here for more.

Life goes online after death with 'memory boxes': In an age when so much of our lives are online, little thought has been given to how we handle a person's digital world when they are no longer with us. Click here for more.

A world after Wikileaks: 'This is democracy's Napster moment', says regular commentator Bill Thompson Click here for more.

People can't live without high-speed internet: poll: High-speed internet has had the greatest technological impact on society over the past decade and is the technology most people say they cannot live without, according to a new poll. Click here for more.

Social Media

Facebook fans will 'like' RockMelt browser: RockMelt, a new Web browser backed by Netscape's Marc Andreessen, aims to bring together social networking, news feeds and Web browsing. Click here for more.

Facebook twins want more money: The handsome Ivy League twins who accused Mark Zuckerberg of stealing the idea for Facebook have reignited their legal stoush with the billionaire. Click here for more.

Bebo takes another shot: Bebo, the social network that was dumped by AOL two years after the internet company purchased it, is trying to regain some startup magic by bringing back its founde Click here for more.

Facebook movie 'got it wrong': Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg says The Social Network got "hugely basic things" wrong - but the costuming was spot on. Click here for more.

Facebook founders pledge to give half their cash to charity: Another 17 of America's richest people, including Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, junk bond pioneer Michael Milken and AOL co-founder Steve Case, have promised to give away most of their wealth. Click here for more.

An open letter to CEOs: Why so Twitter averse?: In retrospect, I have come to understand your relative lack of interest in blogging, when blogging was the thing to do. It's time consuming. It's easy to overthink (and underthink). A blog requires readers to find you, and return - embarrassing if they don't. You always have to feed the beast (darn you, pesky time stamps). Click here for more.

Twitter now valued at US$3.7b: Twitter has raised US$200 million in financing in a deal that values the company at US$3.7 billion ($5 billion), a spokesman for the microblogging site says. Click here for more.

Twitter approved to use in English courts: Twitter can be used in courtrooms in England and Wales, the top judge said in a landmark decision, following debate over the issue at previous hearings involving WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. Click here for more.

Facebook on collision course with Google: Facebook is challenging Google's supremacy on the internet with a radically different approach to how people live, work, play and search online. Click here for more.

Bottoms-up is best, quoth Google: The endgame in the long-running battle over who is to control the internet may be upon us, with the appointment of a little-reported but highly significant new UN committee to look into initiatives for policing the internet. Click here for more.

Security and Safety

Widow loses $600k to online 'lover': A Perth woman has been left bankrupt, homeless and unemployed after an overseas conman elaborately faked a romance with her to fleece her of all her assets. Click here for more.

Don't lose yourself to identity theft: Be careful caution when divulging banking data or you might join the many victims of personal fraud, writes Bina Brown. Click here for more.

Web browser flaw secretly bares all : Dozens of websites have been secretly harvesting lists of places that their users previously visited online, everything from news articles to bank sites to pornography, a team of computer scientists found. Click here for more.

Password hacking as easy as 123...: Hackers have posted a list of the most commonly used passwords on a popular gossip website, sending a warning to internet users not to use obvious words. Click here for more.

Online risks shown in Facebook teen sex case: An internet safety group is warning about the dangers of social networking sites after a Whangarei man was sentenced for sexually abusing a 15-year-old girl he befriended through Facebook. Click here for more.

Mainly Microsoft

Microsoft reveals beefed-up privacy for IE9: Microsoft has unveiled increased privacy options for the upcoming version of its popular web browser Internet Explorer 9 including the ability to prevent tracking by third-party websites. Click here for more.

The Weird, Wide Web

Couple get around gay marriage law using Skype: Mark Reed and Dante Walkup wanted to marry in their home state of Texas, but same-sex marriage isn't legal there. The couple had an officiant who is licensed in Washington, D.C., where gay marriage is legal, witness and certify their union via Skype. Click here for more.

Boring couple awarded $1 over Street View trespass: Google has acknowledged that it trespassed when it took a photo of a Pittsburgh-area house for its Street View service, but will pay only $1 in damages to a couple who sued. 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.

Young 'prefer illegal song swaps': The music industry could be facing a crisis because of the number of young people still illegally downloading from the internet, a report has warned. Click here for more.

Wikipedia found to be accurate: Errors appear to be the exception rather than the rule, Nature said after a comparison of articles. Click here for more.

Dutch church bids for sex.eu: A Dutch Full Gospel Church was seconds too late to bid on sex.eu, the most sought after domain name using the European Union's own top level domain. Click here for more.

Malicious worm that talks back: "Now that we have seen the first attempt to put some intelligence into a worm we can expect to see the technique used again, and more effectively, probably with a rather more damaging payload next time around." Click here for more.

eBayer pays £470 for photo of Xbox 360: ...an unwary eBayer appears to have just paid £470 for what he or she obviously thought was an "XBOX 360 PREMIUM PACKAGE". 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 January and have a great 2011!

Rob Zorn


Copyright © 2011 Actrix Networks Limited | Contact: editor@actrix.co.nz