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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
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Actrix – New Zealand's first Internet Service Provider

Welcome to the September Actrix Online Informer

Welcome to the Actrix Online Informer for September 2012.

This month we talk about cyber crime following the release of Norton's Cyber Crime 2011 Report. There are some startling statistics here about how desperate and successful cyber criminals can be, and there are also some useful hints on how to protect yourself from becoming a victim.

We also look at e-books, and how you can still read e-books without having to invest in a special e-book reader.

YouTube feature

This month's Youtube feature is a little different. Instead of featuring a single video, we're featuring an entire channel. There were just too many great videos to watch!

Most of the videos on this channel feature a bunch of friends trying some outrageous things, like flying down hills in Auckland on modified tricycles or using a bungy-jump cord to make a human slingshot.

What makes this channel even better is the quality of the videos and the soundtracks. So sit back and enjoy!


Rob Zorn


Cyber crime

In the Online Informer we deal quite a bit with internet security and fraud, and for good reason. Cyber criminals stole more than $600 million from Kiwis in 2011. If you think that's a staggering amount, the total cost of cyber crime worldwide is calculated at $388 billion.

These figures come from Norton's Cyber Crime 2011 report, issued this month, which details the cost and extent of cyber crime in New Zealand and around the world.

Here are a few more interesting statistics:

  • cyber crime is bigger than the global black market in marijuana, cocaine and heroin combined ($288bn) and approaching the value of all global drug trafficking ($411bn)
  • around the world, 14 adults are victims of cyber crime every second
  • every day there are twice as many cybercrime victims as new born babies
  • 72 percent of New Zealanders have been the victim of cyber crime.

There are a number of different ways cyber crimes are committed. It can be in the form of a virus which attacks your computer and records your personal information before passing it on to someone else. It can be in the form of a scam where some Nigerian prince wants to give you a whole lot of money, but needs a little money from you first. It could also be a fake email from your bank asking you to log in to your account, which records your details and gives the criminal access to your account.

So here's what you can do to stop yourself becoming a cyber crime statistic:

  • make sure your computer is running up-to-date anti-virus software
  • never give out personal details online
  • don't believe anyone who says you've won money
  • never click a link in an email from someone you don't know
  • if you ever doubt the authenticity of an email you've received from a bank or IRD, look them up in the telephone book and give them a call.

Preventing yourself becoming a victim of cyber crime can be simple. The trick is to never let your guard down when online.

E-books 101 

E-books seem to be all the rage these days, and for good reason. Normal books can be big and bulky and sometimes awkward to carry around. The advantage of the e-book is its portable and can be stored with hundreds, if not thousands, of other e-books on a single electronic device, or e-reader. Even libraries are incorporating e-books into their systems, with some allowing you to borrow an e-book directly onto your device without having to set foot in a library.

E-books are also easy to purchase. There are numerous online stores, the most popular being, and Barnes & Noble.

This is all great for people who have e-readers, such as Kindles, Kobos and Nooks, which can store and display e-books. But it means little for the rest of us, right?

Wrong! The great thing about e-books is they can be read on virtually any device, from Macs to PCs and iPads to smartphones. Best of all, it's free. While you'll still have to pay for each book (unless borrowed from a library) you don't have to invest in a dedicated reader if you don't want to.

E-books come in a variety of formats. The most popular format is ePUB, which can be read on any mainstream e-reader apart from Kindle (made by and arguably the most popular e-reader on the market), though this is set to change soon. Kindle uses the MOBI format.

Windows and Mac

There are a couple of different options for reading e-books if you're using a PC. Kindle Reader, which can be downloaded free from, is one of the more popular and makes for easy reading. It lets you customise the book's formatting and fonts to suit you. It does require setting up an account with Amazon, though this works in your favour, as the next time you purchase a book online it'll automatically load in your Kindle Reader.

Download Kindle Reader.

However, the Kindle Reader only reads MOBI format, and while there are other programmes to convert and change the different formats, they require downloading and installing new files which can be quite a hassle. So for everything else, there's a programme called Calibre. Not only is Calibre an e-reader for your PC, it can also be used to convert e-books into any format of your choosing.

Best of all, it's free and has versions for Windows, Mac and even Linux.

Download Calibre.


Reading e-books on the iPad is also easy. The iPad comes with a dedicated application called iBooks, which can read most e-book formats, and Amazon's Kindle Reader is also free to download, meaning you have all bases covered for the one-off cost of free. The same goes for all iPhones and iPod Touches.


If your smartphone is an Android, there are all the same apps available for you too, with Kindle, Kobo and Nook free to download.

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!

35 life-changing ways to use everyday objects – Its' the little things in life that can bug you the most, like hard-to-open plastic containers, ink stains on wooden floors and jars where the lid is just too tight. Well fret no longer, because this site has 35 ways you can use normal everyday household items to perform some of life's little tricks.
Weird inventions – This site has come up with some crazy ideas for inventions, ranging from surfboards with internet connections to wedgy-proof underwear. There's even an anti-smoking cowboy hat and a fruit-cake powered Christmas tree!
The Last Supper Last Supper, by Leonadi Divinci, is perhaps one of the most famous and controversial works of art. There are numerous conspiracies about the hidden messages and different people represented in the painting. This web page discusses some of the more famous theories and ideas regarding the painting, and sheds some interesting light on this incredible work of art.
Unnecessary Knowledge – Did you know that a pigeon produces about 25 lbs of droppings per year? Or that Albert Einstein was offered the presidency of Israel? Or that the blind cavefish is born with eyes, but they fall off as the fish grows? Well neither did I, until I visited this site full of unnecessary knowledge and useless facts.
Optical illusions – This web page doubles as a great time-waster and a fun way to test your kids. Some of the 25 optical illusions may be familiar, but there are a couple of real doozies here. No matter how hard I try, I can't see the man's face in the coffee beans. Can you?
Musician costs – How much would you pay to have the Foo Fighters come and play at your house? What about Lady Gaga or Carlos Santana? This site has an exhaustive list of bands and musicians and how much it would actually cost to get them to play at your house. At three hundred thousand dollars, the Foo Fighters might be a little out of your price range.
Schmidt Sting Pain Index – Next time someone asks you to describe your pain level out of ten, ask them if they're using the Schmidt Sting Pain Index (SSPI). The SSPI has 10 levels of pain, with each level compared to the sting of a different hymenopteran (a fancy way of saying a big insect). Note to self – never get stung by a bull ant.
3 slices – This is a simple but addictive game, where you have the chance to make three slices using your mouse to cut as much red stuff as possible. Put your physics knowledge to the test to see how far you can get. Did I mention it's addictive? – is an easy to use online tool for editing all your photos. So if you need to cut out that ex-boyfriend or hide the photo-crasher, simply upload your photo and use the site's tools to whisk them away. Being able to crop photos is definitely handy, and saves having to spend money on some expensive software.

100 most common English words – Do you think you know the 100 most common words of the English language? Prove it to your colleagues, friends and family by playing this fun online game! I managed to guess 44, but could get no further. And no cheating allowed!


Cyberspace news snippets

What's been happening in the online world?

New Zealand

Snappy app: Air New Zealand mPass: These days you don't even need a printed boarding pass to hop on board a domestic flight: All you need is a smart phone. Click here for more.

Bolt's dash too much for iSKY customers: The Olympic 100 metre final, at 9.63 seconds, was easily missed if you were distracted but some iSky users didn't even get the chance. Click here for more.

Kiwi cloud computing code could go global: New Zealand could help set the standard for cloud computing services in Australia and beyond. Click here for more.

Cost bar keeps fibre dream out of classrooms: Schools in underprivileged areas are struggling to benefit from the Government's ultra-fast broadband scheme, with high prices and unfair distribution creating a rich and poor "digital divide", Labour says. Click here for more.

Proposed laws target cyber-bullying: Tough proposed laws will criminalise cyber-bullying and require schools to take action against digital tormentors. Click here for more.

Dating scams increase: The amount of money Kiwis lost to online dating scams has doubled to account for almost two-thirds of all reported online fraud losses in the past year. Click here for more.

Push to get more state transactions online: The Government wants more common transactions to be done online, aiming to increase the proportion from 30 percent to 70 percent by 2017. Click here for more.

: Click here for more.


Tech talk: sound like a pro: Jargon, buzzwords and important-sounding management consultant speak: No one loves them more than information technology folk. Click here for more.

Mapping our way on the e-learning highway: Children's brains may be developing differently as a result of exposure to digital technology, with profound implications for the education system, says the prime minister's chief scientific adviser, Sir Peter Gluckman. Click here for more.

Why it's ok for your kids to play computer games: Young children are naturals with computers, leaving their parents baffled. Should we be worried? Click here for more.

Baby safety info on most websites wrong – study: Don't trust Dr Google. International research has revealed that most of the websites brought up in search results about infant sleep safety via the internet giant contained wrong information. Click here for more.

Google includes Gmail in search results: Google is creating an information bridge between its influential Internet search engine and its widely used Gmail service in its latest attempt to deliver more personal responses more quickly. Click here for more.

Switched-on iPad infants put to the test: A toddler sits with a magazine in front of her, sliding her fingers across the pages then waiting expectantly for them to transform at her touch. It is clear from the video that she believes the magazine is an iPad. Click here for more.

With a little help from wi-fi: As our lives become increasingly connected, we are becoming more dependent on the internet than ever. Even when just out for a coffee, some people can't resist checking emails, the sharemarket, or what their friends are up to on Facebook. Click here for more.

Keeping tabs on your digital life: For as long as I've been using computers, I've been searching for the perfect way to take digital notes. In theory, computers should be a natural place to keep all of the to-dos, reminders, meeting notes, ideas, grocery lists and other ephemera that come streaming into our lives every day. Click here for more.

Will voice calls be dead in a decade?: Every call will be a video call within 10 years, says Google. The history books are filled with people making bold technological predictions, although some have turned out to be more accurate than others. Click here for more.

UN opens debate on Internet future to public: The UN telecoms agency has invited over 2 billion Internet users to join a debate about the future of the Internet. Click here for more.

Online annual meetings closer as bill progresses: Hopes are high that companies could begin holding annual general meetings online this year. Click here for more.

New web-series explores transhumanism: In the slick new Web video series H+, from X-Men producer Bryan Singer, the iPhone has been rendered obsolete by the H+, a small implant that allows for a smartphone-like experience inside your head. Click here for more.

Teachers taking tech lessons from pupils: Teachers struggling to keep pace with new technology are relying on their students for advice. Click here for more.

Social Media

Facebook opens doors to gambling in UK: Facebook will allow users in Britain to wager real money on its service, opening its doors to gambling for the first time as revenue growth slows at the world's No. 1 social network. Click here for more.

Racist Facebook page labelled 'humour': Australian boxer Anthony Mundine has lent his support to a campaign condemning Facebook over its claims that a clearly racist Facebook page is not considered hate speech. Click here for more.

Contents removed from racist Facebook page: The creators of a racist Aboriginal Memes Facebook page – described as a potential breach of Australia's Racial Discrimination Act – have removed all of the controversial images. Click here for more.

Facebook has new email for phishing scams: Facebook has created an email address for people to report scams. Anyone – even those who aren't on Facebook – can use it to report malicious emails that pretend to come from Facebook. Click here for more.

German official: Facebook must delete faces: A German data protection official has called for social networking site Facebook to delete biometric profiles of people stored without their explicit consent, saying they breach European privacy rules. Click here for more.

Judge rejects Facebook settlement: A US judge rejected Facebook's proposed legal settlement to resolve allegations that the social networking company violated its members' rights through the its 'Sponsored Stories' advertising feature. Click here for more.

Fake followers newest ploy in politics: Forget ballot box irregularities. There's a virtual dust-up under way over how Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney amassed more than 100,000 new Twitter followers in just one weekend. Click here for more.

Eco-site pulls a million 'little monkeys': It has a million users already – and soon a children's social-networking site invented by a Wellington entrepreneur will launch in New Zealand. Click here for more.

Twitter tightens its stranglehold on apps: In a move to regulate how users access its microblogging service, Twitter announced new restrictions that sternly discouraged independent software developers from creating Twitter apps. Click here for more.

Teacher subject of Facebook 'abuse': Waimea College has revealed details of pupils targeting a teacher online. This comes after the Law Commission recommended last week that the government enforce tighter control over cyber-bullying offences. Click here for more.

Can't buy love online? 'Likes' for sale: The going rate for one thousand Australian Facebook "likes" is A$90. Click here for more.

Apple and Android

Apple most valuable public company ever: Apple Inc has became the most valuable public company of all time, after its market value climbed beyond US$620 billion (NZ$766 billion) to surpass a milestone set by Microsoft Corp more than a decade ago. Click here for more.

Making millions making iOs apps?: We've all heard the stories about mobile apps making millionaires out of developers but is making a game for a mobile device really a licence to print money? Click here for more.

Rabbis rap Apple over anti-Semitic app: European rabbis said Tuesday that they were lobbying Apple to pull a mobile app version of The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, a notorious anti-Semitic forgery. Click here for more.

Baby-bump app sparks uproar: An Australian-developed iPhone app that cheekily claims to "increase teen pregnancy" has been attacked by family planning groups as irresponsible. Click here for more.

Keep it in the cloud: The services – also called "cloud storage services" – mean you no longer have to worry about your smartphone or tablet computer running out of storage, or losing all your precious files should anything happen to your device. Click here for more.

: Click here for more.

Copyright vs Piracy

Google search to downgrade pirate sites: Google is altering its search results to de-emphasise the websites of repeat copyright offenders and make it easier to find legitimate providers of music, movies and other content. Click here for more.

Kim Dotcom takes the stand over raids: Internet piracy-accused Kim Dotcom has taken to the witness stand today claiming he was punched and kicked by police during the raid on his home. Click here for more.

: Click here for more.

Security and Safety

Apple cloud 'life' wiped: What would you do if your entire digital life started evaporating before your eyes and there was virtually nothing you could do about it? Click here for more.

Fraud's modem operandi: Cyber criminals stole more than $600 million from Kiwis in the past year. Click here for more.

New virus spies on bank transactions: A new cyber surveillance virus has been found in the Middle East that can spy on banking transactions and steal login information for social networking sites, email and instant messaging, according to a leading computer security firm, Kaspersky Lab. Click here for more.

Hackers cripple Aussie intelligence website: The notorious hacking group Anonymous crippled a computer server at the domestic spy agency, the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation, and claimed the agency's website would be unavailable for the rest of the day. Click here for more.

Big Data is watching you: Hal the computer in 2001: A Space Odyssey is ranked as one of the great villains of the screen - but his computer cousins could now be helping decide if you get a discount in a shop or get out of prison. Click here for more.

Number's nearly up for phone thieves: Stealing mobile phones could soon become pointless. A pact preventing stolen mobiles from working on any network appears within reach after 2degrees revealed it was preparing to join Vodafone and Telecom in blocking their use. Click here for more.

: Click here for more.

The Weird, Wide Web

'Nasa mohawk guy' outshines Curiosity: As the first images of Mars from Nasa's rover Curiosity went viral across the web, so too did a 32-year-old Nasa flight director from Pasadena, California. Click here for more.

'Uncool' Korean star goes viral: A chubby, rapping singer with slicked-back hair and a tacky suit is the latest musical sensation to burst upon the world from South Korea, via a YouTube music video that has been seen by nearly 30 million people in under a month. 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.

Are gadgets, and the Internet, actually addictive?: When the users of BlackBerries could not send or receive e-mails for 11 hours in April because of a glitch in the system, hospital administrator Paul Levy pronounced it a "national disaster" because of all the BlackBerry "addicts" forced into withdrawal. Click here for more.

Google cookies will 'auto delete': Google has said that its cookies, tiny files stored on a computer when a user visits a website, will auto delete after two years. Click here for more.

Fast food brands hit kids online : Fast food brands are getting around laws banning the promotion of unhealthy snacks online, research suggests. Click here for more.

Internet blamed for Shanghai teen pregnancies: Nearly half of the pregnant teens in China's financial hub, Shanghai, met their partners on the Internet, according to China's state media. Click here for more.

Cyberspace: it's the new toilet wall: The internet has given people the anonymity to say what they like – as rudely as they like, writes Andrew Stevenson. 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 ( or to the Accounts Department (

Take care through September!

Rob Zorn 


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