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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 October Actrix Online Informer

Welcome to the October 2011 Actrix Online Informer.

The new copyright law came into place last month , making it possible for copyright holders to take action against illegal downloaders. There have been a couple of unconfirmed instances where people say they have been sent a notice from their ISP, but nothing official has been confirmed. We will keep you informed of developments.

This month we follow a common trend with an article on useful sites to do with the Rugby World Cup, and we also feature a selection of reader's responses to being called by scammers – something we've been devoting a little time to over the last few issues..

YouTube feature

This month we feature a video of Larry Griswold's The Diving Fool, a comedy routine that appeared on the Frank Sinatra Show in 1951. Griswold, a gymnast and comedian, has the audience in stitches as he performs his crazy antics. The video may be more than 60 years old, but the comedy is timeless. Just think of the ACC levies this man would be paying today, if OSH (Occupational Health and Safety) hadn't already shut him down!

Always remember, you need to concentrate on two things. Control! And that's both of them!

Rob Zorn


Rugby rugby rugby!

by Rob Zorn

It seems there is little more to talk about at the moment than rugby. It's almost unusual to hear a conversation that doesn't mention last night's game or an upcoming match. Some say fair enough too. Our country is hosting the third most popular sporting event on the planet, and even some of the most ardent anti-fans are finding something to talk about. So we thought we'd continue the trend with a breakdown of some of the best websites to do with rugby and the World Cup.

The best place to start is the official Rugby World Cup 2011 website. Here you'll find everything you need to know about the tournament. Is Russia ranked higher than Georgia? Which is the only team making its world cup debut? If New Zealand loses to Canada, who will they meet in the quarter-finals? It's all here, from post-match breakdowns to live commentary and video highlights.

Once you've got your head around the dynamics of the tournament, it's time to become a master of the game itself. Here are two sites to help you understand the "beautiful game". The first is a short video from 2005 which gives a simple breakdown of how the game is played and what the basic rules are. So if you're not sure you know your loose-head from a lineout or a punt from a prop, check this video out.

Then head to the official IRB (International Rugby Board) website where you'll find a complete list of the rules and regulations of the game. Is Ritchie McCaw really a cheat or are the Springboks just jealous whingers? What happens when someone tries to kick a conversion with a different ball than the one with which the try was scored? If you don't know the answers, they'll be here.

So now you know the rules, it's time to learn a little history. The Rugby Football History site has everything you need to know about how the game originated, how it has changed over time and who influenced the changes. It discusses ancient games that were played by the Romans and Greeks that have made rugby the game it is today. This site is a "must visit" for any self-professed rugby fan!

Have you ever wondered who Web Ellis was and why he's so important (he's the guy the World Cup trophy is named after)? Can you remember who won the last few times? Who was it that first thought grabbing an inflated piece of pig skin and running down the field with it would be a good idea, and how was rugby introduced to New Zealand? See Wikipedia's Rugby World Cup, Rugby and All Blacks entries to find out. These days, if you're wondering about anything, Wikipedia should probably be your first port of call.

Once you know the ins and outs of the sport like the back of your hand, why not try that hand at the game itself? Here are two ways you can prove your rugby prowess without having to make a tackle. The first is Rucking Rugby, a site dedicated to rugby gaming. From simple 2-dimensional kicking tournaments to reviews of the latest Xbox games, it'll take you a while to master everything on offer – but you should have a lot of fun!

The second is Jimungo, where you can select the scores to upcoming games and earn points depending on your picks. Invite your friends to play and have your own Rugby World Cup. It might be a bit late to get anywhere in this World Cup, but Jimungo runs competitions for the Super 15 and provincial rugby, not to mention rugby league and football too.

And when you've mastered that, it's time to sit back and enjoy the game played at its very best. RugbyDump brings you the most up to date videos around, from highlights of the latest games to compilation of big tackles, try savers and rib breakers. There are a number of categories to choose from, including Plays of the Week, Funnies, and even Big Hits and Dirty Plays. If it's not on RugbyDump, it probably didn't happen.

And lastly, we all love a sing along at the rugby. If you don't know the words to all those foreign anthems, or even your own, then have we got a site for you! Rugby Songbook works online or with mobiles (so you can download the words right there in the stand) and has all the national anthems for all 20 teams at the Rugby World Cup, even the New Zealand Haka. Now there's no excuse not to sing along.

And yes, there's more to life than rugby.

View this article on its own...

Getting back at scammers

Over the last couple of months we've been discussing the phone scammers who call about viruses they say you've been sending out in an attempt to get you to download malicious software onto your computer. Last month I was very pleased finally to have finally received my first call, and had a plan to waste the scammer's time and money by leading them on for as long as I could. Unfortunately it didn't go all that well and the caller realised I was leading her on. But it sounds as if some of you have had a similar idea. We've received a number of responses from readers who have been called but have also had a little fun at the scammer's expense.

Eric writes:
I also like to lead them on and waste their time! I usually play dumb and elderly (which I am, elderly that is) and have trouble understanding what they are talking about being a little deaf (asking them to speak up), interspersed with some mild "chatting up" if they are female, and inquiries about the weather where they are. Played carefully, it usually takes a while for them to realise they are being led on and it can be great fun! I enjoy your Informer, keep up the good work!

Way to go Eric! If the whole country started doing this I think they might start leaving us alone.

Cliff writes:
I liked your story and article on the Asian scammers. Just this week my wife took a call, and listened long enough to be sure that is was a scammer, then simply hung up without saying a word. Within seconds, the phone rang again and the same female voice said "f--- you." We have had heaps of these calls in the last year or so but they don't seem to learn.

Thanks Cliff, it sounds to me like the woman who called you was still fuming over her conversation with Eric!

Gillian writes:
I had an "Asian lady" call me too. She said she was from Windows! She talked for a while then asked me to turn on my computer. I replied "No". There was a slight pause by us both – then I added ..."I'm on dialup; I can't talk to you and be on the web at the same time". <Click>. Hope I wasted some of their money on tolls! Checked it out with my "computer man" and he said avoid like the plague.

Good stuff Gillian – wasting their time and money, even if you're on dialup is a great way to get back at these scammers!

John writes:
Just reading your article on the scam phone calls and the fun you had leading them on. I have had at least three of these calls. I must have a similar attitude to you, and with the last two, I played along (or pretended to) for as long as I could – about 15 minutes. Then I said that I had special software installed that had tracked his location and that the police would be there in a minute to take him to jail. He then hung up. I was picturing a panicked collection of valuables before he sprinted out the door! Great fun.

Well done John. If everyone led these scammers on like this they wouldn't be making any money at all! A valiant effort.

Robyn writes:
I was interested to read your article on the scammers and thought I'd let you know they don't give up. We've been called well over a dozen times hanging up promptly each time and still they persist which is fine if I answer the phone but not so good when it's my young daughter or my hearing impaired husband. It would be great if something could be done about this, maybe by one of the communications companies, i.e. Telecom. Just a thought.

Thanks Robyn. It sounds like many people are getting numerous calls. Hang in there and hopefully they'll realise we're on to them, but please don't hold your breath for help from Telecom!

Kiri writes:
Well they just keep calling back. Encouraged by your article last night at 6pm I kept that lady busy on the line for just over 20 minutes before she hung up on me (rude!).

Would you believe it just before 7 pm. Another call, different lady (Jenny) spoke too fast which was to my advantage, five minutes later she put her supervisor on (Helen). Helen had another call to handle so back to Jenny. Jenny wasn't getting anywhere with me so supervisor Kevin joined in. He was much more fun. I bullied him into giving me his e-mail address. I'm note interested in contacting this guy. But if your up for it and you think its worth pursuing please be my guest!

Thanks, Kiri. You managed to tie up the time of three of them for a while, and that entitles you to a special prize. And that special prize is the satisfaction of knowing you did your bit, and while they were tied up with you they weren't able to be hassling somebody else! 

View this article on its own...

TVNZ onDemand

What is TVNZ On Demand?

TVNZ OnDemand is an online television viewing offered to individuals within New Zealand who have a broadband connection. This is a service that offers a variety of free content such as news updates and TV shows, that are seen on TVNZ channels approximately 24hours after they are screened on a standard television. Anything that is shown on TVNZ channels other than films and live sporting events will be uploaded to the online service.

TVNZ OnDemand: http://tvnz.co.nz/video.

How does it work?

TVNZ OnDemand is an online website which is accessible to everyone. You can search for your favourite TV shows, documentaries and the latest news via the website. All video content is streamed through the website and is free of charge provided you watch a 30 second advertisement.

Who is the service designed for?

This service is designed for customers who may have missed their favourite shows or don’t have a recording feature on their TV. Other individuals who don’t have a television or are away from home can catch up with the latest shows or entertainment.

How do I use the service?

The website has been designed for ease of use. You can use the area on the left hand side of the screen to search by the title of the show or ‘By Shows A-Z.’ If using the A-Z search feature, simply click the first letter of the show you’re searching for and then try and find the episode you wish to watch.

To find a show using the search feature simply enter the first few words of the show and click ‘Search’, then select the episode you want to watch.

You can also click on any ‘Watch Episode’ link that is on the website. You may see these on the homepage which showcases the latest shows uploaded.

Find out more at http://www.actrix.co.nz/helpfultips.php?tipid=124


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!

Rent a German
www.rentagerman.de/ – This site offers a wide range of Germans for your personal and social needs. Whether it's a wedding, funeral or pool party, impress your friends by bringing along a German. We all need one every now and then, and no home should be without one!
Bless this stuff
www.blessthisstuff.com/ – On this site you'll find a massive collection of gadgets and innovations that you can't help but drool over. It collects cool and interesting things for sale on the net and puts them all in the same place. So whether you want a transparent kayak, the coolest iPad accessories or a high-tech pair of shoes, this site has it all.
Europcar Rugby
http://rugby.europcar.ie/ – Keeping with our rugby theme, this site is a simple interactive summary of the Rugby World Cup 2011. It neatly combines the locations, the matches and the pools into a nice graphic that makes following the tournament a breeze.
Gigapixel panorama photography
www.gigapixel.com/image/gigapan-canucks-g7.html – This is the technology that was needed during the recent riots in Canada and England. The camera takes a series of images of a crowd in such high quality that identifying one face out of a million is a simple task. What a great help to the police!
365 Tomorrows
http://365tomorrows.com/ – This is a collaborative project designed to present readers with a new piece of short science 'flash' fiction daily. Every day there's a new story, generally only 600 words long, from some of the best science fiction writers around.
Viral video
http://viralvideochart.unrulymedia.com/?platform=all&interval=all_time – This site hosts the most popular videos being shared and talked about on the web, from music and advertisements to YouTube videos. The videos are categorised and then ranked according to the amount of interest they have generated.
What if the history of the United States was told by Facebook?
http://6.mshcdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/oped_facebook-custom1.gif – Quite simply, this is what the United States' Facebook profile would look like according to history. No further explanation is needed, but you may need to click on the image to make it larger.
Open Yale Courses
http://oyc.yale.edu/ – Open Yale Courses provides free and open access to a selection of introductory courses taught by distinguished teachers and scholars at Yale University. Complete a couple of these and you could almost add Yale as tertiary education on your CV. Who would know?
Read aloud Dad
www.readalouddad.com/ – This site was set up by a father of twins for other parents who might be struggling for inspiration when it comes to reading bed-time stories. It contains reading plans and suggestions as well as reviews of plenty of children's books.

I can stalk u
www.icanstalku.com/ – This site was developed to raise awareness about how dangerous inadvertent file sharing can be. It takes photos from people's twitter feeds and, using the code that is loaded with the photos, is able to pinpoint their location on Google Maps. The site means no harm, and even teaches users how disable this function on their cameras and phones.


Cyberspace news snippets

What's been happening in the online world?

New Zealand

Downloading dip not marked in wake of law change, telcos say: The "Skynet" law appears to be encouraging some internet users to stop accessing entertainment through peer-to-peer file-sharing services, but the fall-off in patronage has not been as marked as that which followed some crackdowns overseas. Click here for more.

Skynet bill's arrival proves a non-event: Despite the cacophony of opposition to this law, far from seeing an Armageddon of ISP warnings and internet terminations, the result has been dead boring. Nothing. Zip. Click here for more.

Skynet law still to hit offenders: Internet users are yet to feel the full sting of the Government's anti-piracy "Skynet" law, with only a few unconfirmed reports of pirates being pinged by copyright holders. Click here for more.

Broadband value still over ditch: Kiwis are getting more broadband for their buck but our cousins across the ditch are still way ahead when it comes to value for money, a study has found. Click here for more.

Are Kiwi ISPs catching up with Australia? According to a new analysis published today by Market Clarity, the New Zealand broadband market has become more competitive over the last year, and in one case is even offering better value than is available in the larger Australian market. Click here for more.

Online purchases 'a rip-off': Kiwis are paying up to 50 per cent more than American consumers for online distributed files and software, such as films and iPhone apps, once exchange rates are factored in. Click here for more.

Christchurch doctors doing virtual rounds: Doctors in Christchurch will soon be conducting virtual ward rounds in Greymouth, using a mobile video conferencing cart to check on hospital patients. Click here for more.

InternetNZ announces Community Projects funding opportunity: InternetNZ (Internet New Zealand Inc) has today announced the launch of a one-off funding round for Internet-related projects that benefit the wider community. Click here for more.


Online dating costs woman $100,000: Perth woman Katie Stuart thought she had found love, but instead she was scammed out of almost $AU100,000 ($NZ 125,689). Click here for more.

Family tracks thieves using iPad: An Australian family had two of their iPhones stolen just weeks apart butwere able to recover them with their iPad and one of the thieves' lack of understanding of how an iPhone works. Click here for more.

Publishing an e-book: For many writers getting a publisher to look at their work used to be the challenge. Now the digital world has changed that, allowing authors to electronically publish and sell their masterpieces directly to readers. Click here for more.

Online sales now big part of mix: According to the 2011 Visa Savvy Shopper Survey, the boundaries between e-commerce and "real" shopping are now blurred, with all but 5% of us using a mix of online shopping and stores to supply our needs and wants. Click here for more.

Google about to launch cloud storage service through Google Docs: With Amazon, Apple, and Microsoft moving further into the cloud, it looks like Google is about to make a big move to be the online home to all your personal files. Click here for more.

Social Media

Facebook unveals dramatic redesign: Facebook unveiled new features that centre on the way users listen to music and watch TV as it attempts to make media an integral part of its service. Click here for more.

Facebook adds video calls, group chat: Quick on the heels of Google's launch of its latest social-networking venture, Facebook has annouced that its 750 million users will now be able to make video calls on the site. Click here for more.

Facebook Faces Rumors of Membership Fees: Rumors that Facebook is about to implement a plan to charge for profile pages have been burning up email accounts and Facebook pages. Click here for more.

Facebook tracks you even after logging out: An Australian technologist has caused a global stir after discovering Facebook tracks the websites its users visit even when they are logged out of the social networking site. Click here for more.

Facebook on privacy watch: New Zealand's privacy commissioner is keeping a close watch on social networking site Facebook after it was discovered that it tracks websites that users visit, even when they are logged out. Click here for more.

Internet Privacy: Death of anonymity online: Google and Facebook are trying to remove anonymity from the web by forcing people to sign up using their real names and banning people who use pseudonyms. Click here for more.

Bar owner uses Facebook to reunite bride and dress: When German newlywed Sandra Scharf lost her wedding dress outside a bar, it was thanks to some fast thinking by the owner of a different bar and the wonders of social networking that she managed to get it back. Click here for more.

Google Plus is the grown-up Facebook: My first thought about Google Plus: "Here we go again." But I quickly became addicted. Click here for more.

Twitter now has 100 million active users: Only about half of Twitter's 200 million-plus registered members log on daily but the microblogging website is chalking up growth of 40 percent every quarter in mobile device usage, Chief Executive Dick Costolo said. Click here for more.

Mexican cartels turn on social networks: Police found a woman's decapitated body in a Mexican border city on Saturday, alongside a handwritten sign saying she was killed in retaliation for her postings on a social networking site. Click here for more.

Man builds social network using Atlantic Ocean: Harold Hackett has thousands of friends all over the world, and he didn't get them through social media. The Canadian has spent the last 15 years using the Atlantic Ocean as his very own Facebook by casting bottled messages on the waves. Click here for more.

Google+ Invites the World Into Its Social Circles: It appears that Google+ is becoming more than a gnat circling around Facebook's head. Although its numbers are still relatively modest, Google+ just opened its doors to the masses, which is likely to give its membership a bump. Click here for more.

Security and Safety

Iran involvement suspected in high-end hack attack: Hackers who broke into a Dutch web security firm have issued hundreds of bogus security certificates for spy agency websites including the CIA as well as for internet giants like Google, Microsoft and Twitter, the US government said. Experts say they suspect the hackers operated with the cooperation of the Iranian government. Click here for more.

Suspected LulzSec and Anonymous members arrested in UK: Four men have been arrested in separate parts of the UK by police investigating the hacker groups Anonymous and LulzSec. The suspects are being questioned by Scotland Yard's e-Crime unit. Click here for more.

Smart Devices, Dumb Security? Smart devices are popping up everywhere -- the home, the office, even the car. The downside to having smart devices, though, is that they can't discriminate between good and bad commands and will do what any human tells them to, regardless of whether or not that human is their master. Click here for more.

Mainly Microsoft

Microsoft sued over Windows Phone 7 location tracking: Microsoft is in the crosshairs of a lawsuit charging that smartphones powered by Windows 7 software noted the whereabouts of users even if they didn't want to be tracked. Click here for more.

The Weird, Wide Web

Mexican men face 30 years prison for tweet: Two Mexicans face terrorism charges after spreading false rumours about a rampaging gun-man at a local primary school. 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.

Music download deal bypasses NZ : Revenue will come from advertisements featured on the website, although questions remain over how the artists featured will be paid. Click here for more.

Spam okay if not for profit: A select committee has recommended a major change to the Government's anti-spam bill, suggesting anyone should be able to send unsolicited emails that are of an entirely non-commercial nature and need not desist even if asked to do so by the recipient. Click here for more.

Air NZ looks at inflight internet options: Air New Zealand has begun surveying passengers to see if they are keen to use cell phones and access e-mail and the internet on planes. Click here for more.

Don't hold your breath for iTunes here: A spokeswoman for Apple Australia, Fiona Martin, said that while the sole iTunes music store in Australia has been open for just under a year, she had no information about a New Zealand equivalent. Click here for more.

Three-year-old buys pink convertible on eBay: Jack Neal briefly became the proud owner of a pink convertible car after he managed to buy it for 9,000 pounds ($NZ25,900) on the Internet despite being only three years old. 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. The best place to send requests for support is the Actrix Help Desk (support@actrix.co.nz) or to the Accounts Department (accounts@actrix.co.nz).

Take care through October!

Rob Zorn


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