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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 January 2012 Actrix Online Informer

Merry Christmas, Happy New Year and welcome to 2012!

We've brought out the January Actrix Online Informer a bit early this month because we know that you've been thinking your Christmas just wouldn't be complete without it. So here you are. You're welcome!

We hope you have a Christmas to remember and that 2012 brings you tidings of joy, happiness, fruit cake, barbeques and other assorted good things.

There are, however, a few things you should know about 2012. First, it is a leap year. It has also been declared by the United Nations General Assembly as the International Year of Sustainable Energy for All. According to the Chinese Zodiac it is the Year of the Dragon, but according to the Mayan Calendar, 2012 will usher in the end of the world.

On that note we wish you all a happy and safe year. It could be your last...!

YouTube feature

This month's video feature keeps up with the Christmas spirit. These guys sure can sing, but they can't seem to remember the song they're meant to be singing. And who would have thought Toto could write a Christmas song?


Rob Zorn


2011, what a year!

by Rob Zorn

The end of the year is always a great time for reflection; thinking over the last twelve months and remembering what has happened to make this year one to remember. Chances are one of the first things that will pop into your head will be:

  • What were my New Year resolutions again?
  • I can't believe it's Christmas already, and I have no idea what presents to get everybody!
  • I wonder which video was the most popular on YouTube this year?

We may not be able to help you with the first two, but, as seems to be the tradition at this time of year, we do have a top ten list of New Zealand's most watched YouTube clips. In fact, we've done some snooping and have collected a number of top-ten lists for your surfing pleasure.

New Zealand's most watched YouTube videos of 2011

Eight of the top ten YouTube clips viewed by Kiwis were made here, so once again New Zealander's seem to be valuing their own contributions to the web. And rightly so, we are a great bunch of people, we are the Rugby World Champions, and we have Winston Peters.

However, the top video we watched was most certainly not made in New Zealand, and that may be a good thing. When 14-year-old Rebecca Black released her first song Friday earlier in the year, it seemed as though the whole Western World united to hate this song. Relying heavily on auto-tune and lyrics some said seemed from the back of a cereal box, the teenager received death threats and was credited with the worst song ever made. Not a bad effort, but perhaps she deserves a break. The poor girl is only 14!

Coming in at number 2 was Dunedin-based skateboarder Levi Hawken's Nek minute, a fateful tale that highlighted the perils of leaving a scooter unattended outside a dairy. The video spawned numerous responses, and, parodies, and nearly made Levi Hawken a household name.

You can view the complete list and the videos here.

Google zeitgeist

This is Google "digital litmus test", looking back on the year and revealing what we searched for, viewed, and liked the most. As you might expect, the list is dominated by Hollywood heart-throbs, the Royal Wedding, the latest iPhone and those celebrities who are celebrities without actually doing anything to constitute celebrity status. There are also lists of the most popular books, holiday destinations and pets. All lists can be viewed here.

Google has also released a great YouTube video that puts all these lists together quite nicely. The video also includes significant events that trended on social media sites, such as the Japanese earthquake and tsunami, the floods in Brazil, and the miraculous recovery of Gabrielle Giffords – the United States Senator who was shot in the head from point-blank range and survived.

Facebook memology 2011

Facebook's 2011 memology is a similar compilation to Google's zeitgeist, but is collected from the status updates, likes and searches the world made on Facebook over 2011. It includes lists such as most liked sports people, most listened to songs and most shared news articles.

Ranked highly are musicians Justin Beiber, Lady Gaga and Beyonce. Events that ranked high were the Royal Wedding, Hurricane Irene and the deaths of Osama bin Laden, Steve Jobs and Amy Winehouse.

Because of Facebook's overwhelming global popularity, lists like these give quite an accurate representation of what the world was talking about in 2011.

Time top 10 2011

Time magazine also likes to wade into the "top ten" game, but doesn't like doing things by halves – so every year it releases the Time Top Ten Everything. This compilation includes over 50 lists that range from worst fashion moments and best tweets to over-reported stories and consumer spending trends. Reading all these lists is a great way to pass the time while waiting for Christmas morning.

Top 10 Discoveries of 2011

For the science-heads, here are National Geographic's top ten discoveries of 2011. The world is an amazing place and National Geographic is excellent at reminding us this is so. Great discoveries this year include earth-like planets, Blackbeard's sword, heaps of new species (zombie ants?), and a one-eyed shark. Who'd've thunk it?

Click here for the whole top 10.

Worst movies of 2011

I had a good look through this list and confess not to have heard of most of these. I should probably be grateful judging by the descriptions – mostly by film review site Rotten Tomatoes. View the worst list here, and the best reviewed films of the year here (I hadn't heard of most of these either).

The Top 10 tech trends for 2012

While most lists look back at the year that's been, this list looks to the year coming and predicts the top tech trends for 2012.

Technologically speaking, 2011 may be remembered as the year of the tablet. Apple came out guns blazing with the iPad 2, Samsung released the Galaxy (much to Apple's chagrin) and Amazon brought out the Kindle Fire. Tech-heads the world over are excited about what technologies 2012 will bring, and CNN looked into its crystal ball and declared its predictions for the top tech trends of 2012. I quite enjoy this list, and have my fingers crossed for flying cars, personal robot attendants, disposable jet-packs and meals in a pill.

So there you have it, a reflective look back at the year past and a brief glimpse into the year ahead.

Not that it really matters much, if the Mayans were right after all!

View this article on its own...

Actrix near 100 percent customer satisfaction

Consumer's 2011 ISP Survey results are out and once again we've got a terrific result with the responses indicating Actrix customer satisfaction is only a few percentage points away from 100 percent.

"Internet service providers PlaNet, Actrix and Inspire have once again topped Consumer NZ's customer service ratings with the three of them rating 96 percent or higher.

At the bottom of the pile were Slingshot, Woosh and Compass Communications, all of which scored 60 percent satisfaction against an average 72 percent.

More than 11,000 Consumer members rated their ISPs on in-home setup, phone help with billing and phone help with technical questions, and online help. They also rated reliability, connection and speed.

Actrix and Inspire have been among the top three in Consumer surveys since 2006. PlaNet has been there since 2009.

Vodafone at 62 percent customer service satisfaction and Telecom/Xtra at 68 percent, once again fell below the average. Slingshot had the dubious honour of being the only ISP to score worse than average across each of the categories. Telstra Clear/Paradise had a 76 percent rating."

"....Nearly 80 percent had experienced slower-than-expected speeds. Telecom/Xtra, Vodafone and Slingshot were the least reliable providers...."

The full Scoop article is available here.

This is the eighth consecutive year Actrix has been rated as one of New Zealand's top ISPs, and we believe this proves that our dedication to excellent products, service and support both sets us apart from the competition and is appreciated by our customers.

Our staff put a lot of time and effort into making sure the products and services we provide are the best they can be and as such we're very pleased the hard work we put in has been recognised. We aim to provide the best quality at the right price and it appears we're still getting it pretty right!

However, if you're not completely satisfied with the service you receive from Actrix please let us know. We always appreciate knowing what we are doing well (or as the case may be not so well), so feel free to give us a call on 0800 228-749 or email support@actrix.co.nz.

And thank you to all our loyal customers who rated us so highly!

Holiday Helpdesk Hours

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

  • Saturday December 24 – 7:00pm
  • Saturday December 31 – 7:00pm

The Helpdesk will be closed on Christmas Day and New Year's Day.

If you have a query or issue during this time please leave a message, name and number with our after hours service, or email 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!

Crazy thoughts
www.crazythoughts.com/ Are eyebrows considered facial hair? At a movie theatre, which arm rest is yours? These are the kinds of questions being asked on this site. Some will make you laugh and some will be easy to answer, but there will still be those questions that will have you scratching your head.
Famous people discussing the Divine Comedy with Dante
www.cliptank.com/PeopleofInfluencePainting.htm This remarkable site was sent in from Kate, one of our readers. It features a painting of hundreds of famous people all together, and the aim is to recognise and name as many as you can. You can also click on a person to read more about their life.
Meet an inmate
www.meet-an-inmate.com/ This site lets you select an inmate (from the USA) to become pen-pals with. You can browse through images of all the inmates and select who you want to write to. There's no doubt this is a site of interest, but we still recommend a degree of caution.
Ink-blot wallpapers
www.inkblottestwallpaper.com/ All the art on this site is created by the same guy using ink-blotches from a pen. He's then turned the simple blotches into works of art. Some are actually quite impressive!
Delphion's Gallery of Obscure Patents
www.delphion.com/gallery – This is a collection of some of the weirdest, most unusual patents out there. From a body squeegee for drying yourself after a shower to a diaper for birds, this site has it all.
Citizen's Self-Arrest
www.ou.edu/oupd/selfarr2.htm If you witness a crime, you have the right and responsibility to make a "Citizen's Arrest". By the same token, if you commit a crime, it would be extremely helpful (and provide a savings of tax dollars) for you to perform a Citizen's Self-Arrest. Fill out this handy form to save the boys in blue a heap of time and trouble. Don't forget to read yourself your rights or your self-arrest might be invalid and you'll go free.
Street mattresses
www.streetmattress.com/ – This site features a whole number of random photographs of mattresses on the street. Sounds rather boring, but is actually presented well with some clever captions.
Impaled garden gnomes
www.bifrost.com.au/hosting/gnomes/index.html– This site opens with this: "Welcome to Die screaming with sharp things in your head, our collection of impaled garden gnomes." I think that's enough said, really.
Simon says
www.freegames.ws/games/kidsgames/simon/simon.htm This an online version of the popular game where you follow and repeat the blinking coloured light combinations in the order Simon says. Simple, but addictive.

The geek test
www.innergeek.us/geek-test.html If you have programmed a computer, you might be a geek. If you attend comic conventions, you might just be a geek. If you talk with your friends in Klingon... you probably are a geek. Want to find out for sure if you're a geek? Take the test!


Cyberspace news snippets

What's been happening in the online world?

New Zealand

Rugby World Cup fastest-rising search term : We had a general election and a Budget full of cuts, but when it came to what we wanted to know more about this year, it was all rugby. Click here for more.

Art gallery goes global with Google : Auckland Art Gallery will open its doors to distant audiences as one of two Australasian galleries chosen for the virtual museum tours launched by Google earlier this year. Click here for more.

Mobile broadband use grows : New Zealanders are flocking to mobile broadband, connecting to the internet via their phones or computers equipped with USB dongles, according to the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development. Click here for more.

Netflix turned off by low data caps : Internet movie and television service Netflix has no plans to enter the New Zealand market because of the country's low internet data caps. Click here for more.

Websites reeling in shoppers : Web-based retailers are giving their bricks-and-mortar counterparts a run for their money in the battle for festive season sales. Click here for more.

Twitter spoofs under spotlight : Former Act leader Don Brash has been the butt of thousands of satirical tweets made under his name, but doesn't want or expect the Law Commission to take a hard line on such spoofs, when it releases its review of new media regulation next week. Click here for more.

Internet now valued part of most Kiwis' lives : Scepticism of the internet has all but disappeared in New Zealand, as users now prefer the web to any other source of information, confidently buy and sell goods, and increasingly create real relationships from online connections. Click here for more.

Online shopping popular at Xmas time : New Zealand's eftpos figures show pre-Christmas shopping is off to a slow start, but all the signs for online retailers point to a much merrier festive season. Click here for more.

Online shoppers in dark over purchases: Online shoppers hoping to secure bargain presents for Christmas are still waiting for their purchases months after they paid the money. Click here for more.

Can New Zealand bookstores survive?: First it was a trickle, then a flood. A few years ago, sales of e-books electronic versions of books that can be downloaded and read on a computer or handheld device were negligible. Click here for more.

: Click here for more.


Top ten memes of 2011 : The phrase "internet meme" is pretty broad, and encompasses pretty much anything that goes viral online. Click here for more.

iPhone most searched on Web : Apple's iPhone edged past major news events, celebrities and pop stars as the top searched term on the Web in 2011, according to Yahoo! Click here for more.

Majority go online for no reason: survey : For anyone who needed official word, a new study confirms that many of us – and the majority of young adults – go online for no good reason at all. Click here for more.

School in cyberspace : The way education is delivered is becoming increasingly technology-driven as students – and teachers – head to the web. Click here for more.

'Web access key to helping poor' : Governments worldwide must boost internet accessibility in order to nurture democracy and economic development, entrepreneur Loic Le Meur said at the prestigious LeWeb technology conference in Paris which he founded. Click here for more.

Telecommunications with a twist : Wireless communications are booming, so much so that we may soon come up against the perennial problem of spectrum depletion. Click here for more.

Airlines race for onboard wi-fi : The race is on to bring Wi-Fi to the inflight experience. Virgin Australia announced a deal with Lufthansa Systems to develop Wi-Fi connectivity with media-streaming capability to passenger's mobile devices and laptop computers. Click here for more.

Google donates millions to fight modern slavery: Google is donating US$11.5 million ($15.3 million) in grants to fight modern slavery and its hold on 27 million people worldwide, the technology company has announced. Click here for more.

Gasp retail-row store shuts its doors: A Melbourne clothing store at the centre of a customer service row that went viral on the internet has shut up shop. Click here for more.

Internet helps rekindle love: They were each other's first love and after 60 years spent at opposite ends of the world Blenheim resident Johan Van der Geest, 81, and his teenage sweetheart Jacqueline Van der Vlugt, 79, have rekindled their old romance. Click here for more.

Bon Jovi quashes internet death hoax: Rocker Jon Bon Jovi is still living on a prayer, despite widespread internet rumours to the contrary. Click here for more.

Social Media

India wants social media screened : India has urged social network companies including Facebook, Twitter and Google to remove offensive material, unleashing a storm of criticism from Internet users in the world's largest democracy complaining of censorship. Click here for more.

Social networking - or social and not working?: For many employers, their first instinct is to ban the use of social media at work. No more Facebook. No more Twitter. Click here for more.

Kiwis get Facebook's new Timeline first : New Zealand will be the first country to get Facebook's brand-spanking new Timeline feature – and the rest of the world will be made to wait. Click here for more.

Twitter gets a facelift : Twitter has began rolling out overhauled pages crafted to boost the appeal of the message-sharing service to worldwide users. Click here for more.

Google+ rolls out face recognition : Google is rolling out a feature that lets members of its online social network automatically find themselves in photos posted by friends. Click here for more.

Booze and networking meet online : Associate professor Antonia Lyons from Massey University is the lead researcher in a three-year project exploring the convergence of social networking and youth drinking cultures. Click here for more.

Hidden messages annoy Facebook users : Facebook users have noticed their hidden "other" messages en masse and many of them are not happy. Click here for more.

Facebook to create millionaires : The world's No. 1 online social network is preparing for a blockbuster initial public offering that could create at least a thousand millionaires. Click here for more.

YouTube renovates website : YouTube has reprogrammed its website to make it easier for viewers to find and watch their favourite channels. Click here for more.

Social media outbursts grab public attention: From comedians to rugby players to aspiring top models, there have been plenty of outbursts via social media in 2011, with some catching plenty of public attention. Click here for more.

Mark Zuckerberg has Israeli doppelganger : Israeli entrepreneur Rotem Guez has legally changed his name to that of Facebook's CEO to persuade the social networking site to back down from what he says are threats to take legal action against him. Click here for more.

Facebook aims to help prevent suicide: Facebook is making it easier for people who express suicidal thoughts on the social networking site to get help. Click here for more.

Security and Safety

The evolution of online data access: keeping it secure : In today's reality of numerous high-profile data thefts, the last thing IT managers or department heads need is their company becoming part of the news headlines and the next big data breach. Click here for more.

Aussie lonely hearts hit in the pocket : Australia's competition watchdog and online dating industry will crack down on fraudsters exploiting lonely hearts next year, after more than 1600 Australians reported losing A$17 million ($22.3 million) in the online search for romance. Click here for more.

Malicious app penetrates iTunes store to test security: A malicious piece of software designed for iPhones and iPads has been created to show that Apple's app store is not immune to malware. Click here for more.

'More forceful controls' touted for web in China : A top Chinese government official has urged authorities to be "more forceful" in the way they manage the web. Click here for more.

Trouble in cyberspace : In the age of the internet, a malicious message that might once have been seen by a handful of people can now be viewed by millions. Click here for more.

'Super watchdog' for bloggers, news sites : A Law Commission review proposes a super watchdog for the news industry, to police the "wild west of the internet". Click here for more.

Tough laws for the cyber age requested : Tougher laws should be enacted to stop the publication of intimate photographs, maliciously impersonating someone or inciting suicide on the internet, a new report says. Click here for more.

Mainly Microsoft

Man charged in attack on Simmons site: A man affiliated with the Anonymous hacking group was arrested on federal charges for an attack on a website belonging to Kiss bassist Gene Simmons. Click here for more.

The Weird, Wide Web

Prize pigs' underground world : Some contestants fill out an online competition form 8000 times, while others solicit votes from places as far flung as Romania and Egypt. In the world of digital prize pigs, there is only one goal – to win. Click here for more.

The perils of hitting 'reply all' : The perils of hitting "reply all" in haste to an email has been highlighted by the saga of a top-earning British headhunter. 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.

Apple launches iTunes in New Zealand: Apple Computers announced today that it's long awaited iTunes store is available to New Zealanders. Click here for more.

Internet gangs hire students for cybercrime: Organised gangs have adopted "KGB-style" tactics to hire high-flying computer students to commit internet crime, according to a report by internet security firm McAfee. Click here for more.

Phenomenal growth in NZers shopping online, up 400 : New findings from Nielsen Media Panorama report online shopping showing phenomenal growth over the last five years, with over 1.25 million New Zealanders having shopped online in the last 12 months compared to just 300,000 in 2001. Click here for more.

Chance coming to vent your road rage : Two frustrated American commuters plan to set up a version of their United States website for dobbing in errant motorists. Click here for more.

Ancient computer found on seabed : An astronomical instrument built by the ancient Greeks in the second century BC has turned out to be a complex computer for calculating the relative position of the sun, the moon and the planets. 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 January!

Rob Zorn


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