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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 April Actrix Online Informer

Welcome to the Actrix Online Informer for April 2013.

This month we look at the official opening of our new premises and talk a little about our brand-new network. We also discuss how Facebook can be more than your chosen method of procrastination and actually help promote a business or cause.

YouTube feature

This month's feature is not for the feint-hearted.

This cameraman is in the Okavango Delta in Botswana taking photos of the wildlife when he catches the attention of a 150 kg lioness. How do you think you'd react if you were in this situation? His smile at the end says it all.


Rob Zorn

The big move!

Actrix has achieved another milestone this week with the opening of our new offices on Monday 25 March 2013. We've moved to Victoria Street after 18 years spent in our old building in Wakefield Street. Her Worship Mayor Celia Wade-Brown officially opened the new premises.

The Mayor emphasised the importance of Actrix as a Wellington based business while supporting customers throughout New Zealand. She congratulated us on having been New Zealand's first commercial ISP (started 1989) and also our customers (that's you!) for their ongoing support.

She also presented gift baskets to some of our long-standing customers. These included Errol McCutcheon, our longest standing customer, and Margaret Bell, our longest-standing dial-up customer, both have been with us almost 20 years. A third gift basket was presented to Kelly Mara and wife Trish O'Kane, our longest-standing broadband customers who joined us in 1992 and moved to broadband in 2002.

Office Manager Matt Bull said one of the big reasons for the move was earthquake safety, as the new building has a 98 percent rating for the earthquake code, meaning the equipment, and more importantly, the staff are better protected.

"We have also been in the old building for more than 18 years, so the move is a great way to refresh everything and give our staff and customers the clear message that we are keen on moving the business forward, while ensuring we keep the same high service levels we're famous for."

At the same time, Actrix has also significantly upgraded its network. Our old network was reaching the end of capacity, and, while we're now operating at the same level as before, we're only running at about 1 percent of what the new network can do.

That's great news for customers. Senior Systems Engineer Damian Kissick says the new network allows us to consistently provide ultra-fast broadband. There are also some great new services we can offer, which we're looking forward to announcing!

A big thank you to everyone who came and celebrated with us as the new office was opened! For those that couldn't make it, we've uploaded a few photos to our Facebook page.

Her Worship Celia Wade-Brown and Actrix Managing Director Howard Lewis. Mr Lewis assured Mayor Wade-Brown that, despite its powerful new network, Actrix had no intention of becoming another Telecom, and was content to remain the "best little ISP in the country".

Celebrations well-attended, including by economist Gareth Morgan.


Support Supervisor Bernie Wong-She took time out from the celebrations to keep the help desk going.

Senior Systems Engineers Josh Simpson (left) and Damian Kissick. Both were hired for the Actrix help desk back in 2004 and are now in charge of the network.


Long standing Actrix customer Errol McCutcheon bought his first computer in 1995 and it came with a bundled Actrix Internet connection. Errol says, in the early days of dialup he found the help desk really helpful, but he doesn't need to call in much anymore as his daughter is now an IT graduate.

Long standing Actrix broadband customers Kelly Mara and Trish O'Kane. Were looking for an ISP back in 1992 and a friend recommended Actrix. They said they have been happy with Actrix services right through, and that broadband had changed things remarkably.

Can Facebook be useful?

There's no denying that Facebook is popular. More than 850 million users sign in to their accounts each month, and nearly 25 percent of its more than 1 billion overall users check their accounts more than five times a day. In fact, it's rare to come across someone these days who doesn't have a Facebook account.

But despite its popularity, Facebook, and other social networks, can be misunderstood by so many people. To many, both users and non-users, Facebook is just a procrastination gizmo, a fad, a gossip machine or a waste of time. What many don't realise is that Facebook is an extremely powerful tool for reaching an incredibly wide audience at absolutely no cost.

So how can Facebook be useful for you? Well if you're self-employed, are on the board for a school or sports club, volunteer for a charity or have a friend or family member starting their own business, Facebook can be a real boon.

Chances are you already know how to make Facebook updates, post photos and communicate with your friends. But if you would like to know how to use Facebook, you can find a great tutorial here.

But what I can tell you is that using Facebook to promote your business or cause has a good chance of being successful. A recent international study has published a number of statistics that prove having a Facebook page for your business, club or cause will drive more online-traffic to any website, as well as increasing your chances of signing a new member or making a sale.

Some of the more telling statistics include:

  • 70 percent of consumers trust brand recommendations from friends on Facebook, but only 10 percent trust company advertising.
  • Recommendations on Facebook are more trusted than online reviews, company posts on Facebook and even television advertising.
  • 83 percent of consumers are likely to visit a website recommended by a friend on Facebook, and more than half say comments posted on retailers' Facebook and Twitter pages, whether positive or negative, also influence their opinions.
  • Over 50 percent of people use social networks to assist with shopping decisions.
  • Customers who engage with companies over social media spend 20 percent to 40 percent more money with those companies than other customers.
  • The average Facebook user spends an average 250 percent more on online shopping than the non-user.

These statistics show that when done well, there can be a direct link between Facebook fans and your cash register.

So how do you go about starting an effective Facebook page or campaign?

There are a number of right answers to this question, and a whole bunch or wrong answers too. We'll look more at the right way to go about this next month, but until then there are a number of great articles and tutorials out there on running an effective Facebook page or campaign:

Do you have any related success or other stories to share about your experience with Facebook? Has it worked for your business or cause? Email us your story and we'll include it in the next Informer!

A little bit of spam

Spamming emails are on the increase again, and are expected to continue to rise. Here is a new one we hadn't seen before. It's not particularly clever, but statistically will catch a few people out.

***As ASB Bank customer***

we are informing you to follow the link below to update your internet login details due to some possible internet complications when we change our website login page: VERIFY YOUR ASB DETAILS.

As always if in doubt do not open it or click on any links or pictures if you don't know who sent them to you or where they lead. You can contact our support team on 0800 228749 and they will quickly tell you whether it is safe or not!

So if there's anyone you know who might be vulnerable to such an email, tell them about it and make sure they know to ring their bank to confirm any emails they might receive.

Stay safe out there!

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!

Ball pool
www.mrdoob.com/projects/chromeexperiments/ball-pool/ – This simple web page was started as some guy's coding experiment but has developed into quite a popular page. It lets you create a sea of bouncing balls which you can pick up with your mouse and fling around the page. You can also shake the browser window with your mouse to jumble everything up, or double-click to start over with a new colour-scheme of balls.
Ball drop
http://balldroppings.com/js/ – This site is similar to the one mentioned above. Your browser generates an ongoing series of dropping balls that bounce and disappear from your screen. You can use your mouse to draw lines on the page, which then become solid boundaries that the balls bounce off. I like to imagine I'm a farmer, and the white balls are sheep. I make courses for them with the lines and watch them bounce off the paddock walls. Is that weird?
How come?
www.how-come.net/ – This site asks all of life's important questions, like how come bubbles are round, and how come onions make you cry. It answers many such questions, and even allows you to ask questions of your own. So if you've ever wondered why the sky is blue or why icicles are pointy, wonder no more!
www.webinpaint.com/ – Photobombing is a bit of an online craze a the moment, which sees uninvited people jumping into other people's photos. But if you've every been photobombed, it's nice to know sites like this exist to help you erase that unwanted person. Follow the simple instructions to upload your photo and use the site's tools to remove the offending interloper.
Jetlag rooster
http://www.jetlagrooster.com/ – Got a long flight planned? If so, you have to check out Jetlag rooster. This site lets you enter your flight's details, such as when and where you're leaving and arriving, and it gives you a schedule to follow in terms of when to sleep and when to be active to minimise the effects jetlag will have when you land. Hoorah!
Free book sifter
www.freebooksifter.com/ – This site contains links to all the free e-books currently listed in Amazon's free book store. It's sorted them into all sorts of categories so you can find the literature you're after, and even lets you sign up for a newsletter which will give you a daily run-down of new books that are added.
Last minute auction
www.lastminute-auction.com/ – You often hear of people picking up real bargains on TradeMe and Ebay, and this site increases the chances of that happening to you too. It lists all the auctions on Ebay that are closing in less than an hour and cost less than $1. When we checked there were computer games, Playstation controllers and a Buzz-Light-year replica space-shooter all going for less than $1.
www.dowedo.net/ – What is it about crosswords that makes them so addictive? Once you start, it's hard to put the puzzle down, which is why a site like this comes in so handy. If you've got a few minutes to kill, jump online and start one of these crosswords. They're all sorted in to different difficulty levels and styles, and there are even sudokus to do too, if that's your thing.

How handy are you?
http://handytesten.usedtobe.no/ – Do you consider yourself a handy man? Ladies, does your husband think he knows his way around a toolbox? Well here's a way to prove if you're a handyman or an amateur. This site is a great interactive quiz that'll test your knowledge of everything it takes to be a handy man or handy woman.

Disney's Fantasyland
http://disneyworld.disney.go.com/new-fantasyland/ – This site is great for the kids on a rainy day. The interactive storyline combines characters from Disney's greatest films and takes you on a new adventure that explores the magical world of Disney.

Cyberspace news snippets

What's been happening in the online world?

New Zealand

Soldier pinged by Skynet while on duty: A member of the armed forces has been pinged $255.97 by the Copyright Tribunal after his internet account was used by flatmates to illegally download and share Rihanna and Hot Chelle Rae tracks while he was on tour in Afghanistan. Click here for more.

Kiwis can't keep eyeballs on one screen: Google says 85 percent of New Zealanders "regularly dual-screen" by watching the television at the same time as using their smartphone or computer. Click here for more.

Plunket baby records heading online: Plunket has begun testing new software that will create electronic health records for quarter of a million babies and toddlers. Click here for more.

theCloud: NZ first for secure file sharing: New Zealand infrastructure specialist company theCloud believes it is the first New Zealand supplier to introduce a secure file sharing service where the data is housed in New Zealand. Click here for more.

Another glitch for Telecom email: Telecom says it has fixed a fault that had prevented some business customers sending and receiving emails since yesterday. Click here for more.

Online medical records possible life-saver: New technology allowing patients to view their medical records online could also prove a life-saver, doctors say. Click here for more.


Choose your own sixth sense: Imagine for a moment that you could choose any superpower you wanted. Click here for more.

Google shuts Reader: Google said it will shut Google Reader on July 1, citing declining usage for the application that compiles content served by web feeds, as it forges ahead with its strategy to focus on fewer products that have more impact. Click here for more.

Veronica Mars meets Kickstarter target: Veronica Mars fans just bought themselves a big-screen version of the cult favorite TV series. Click here for more.

Your new boss is a robot: At the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, a management robot is learning to run a factory and give orders to artificial co-workers, and a BakeBot robot is reading recipes, whipping together butter, sugar and flour and putting the cookie mix in the oven. Click here for more.

Fake trolling story dupes Australian news: Internet troll group, Facebeef, has made a public mockery of Australian news program Today Tonight after convincing the show to run a bogus cyber bullying story as its lead expose. Click here for more.

Angry Birds cartoons head for TV screens: The makers of Angry Birds are launching a cartoon series this weekend, expanding further beyond its highly addictive games in a bid to expand entertainment and merchandising. Click here for more.

eBay study questions Google's ad service: eBay, operator of one of the largest online marketplaces, questioned the value of Google's main advertising service in a recent study. Click here for more.

Yahoo acquires app by former employees: Yahoo acquired a small mobile start-up company that was founded by former employees of the struggling Web portal two years ago. Click here for more.

HP develops glasses-free 3D for mobiles: Researchers at Hewlett-Packard have developed a way to put glasses-free 3D video on mobile devices with a viewing angle so wide that viewers can see an object more fully just by tilting the screen. Click here for more.

Veronica Mars rattles movie industry: After years of hope, stalled efforts and studio frustration, Veronica Mars creator Rob Thomas watched a long-held dream come to fruition in a sudden digital rush. Click here for more.

Woman fired after outing men's comments: A developer was fired after tweeting about a group of men she said were making sexual comments at a computer programming conference, fuelling an already vigorous debate about gender equality and culture in Silicon Valley. Click here for more.

Social Media

Facebook could soon add hashtags: Facebook is reportedly preparing to imitate one of Twitter's signature features – the hashtag. Click here for more.

Papal parodies flood the Twittersphere: The new Pope has been greeted with hundreds of parody Twitter accounts including one that was suspended for appearing almost too realistic. Click here for more.

Facebook facelift – a new uniformity: Facebook's newsfeed – the page you land on when you head direct to facebook.com or launch an app – is one of the most viewed pages on the internet. Click here for more.

Facebook is making you buy things: This is a story about advertising on the web. Specifically, it's about ads on Facebook, a hugely popular free service that's supported solely through advertising, yet is packed with users who are actively hostile to the idea of being marketed to on their cherished social network. Click here for more.

YouTube now serving videos to 1 billion: YouTube says more than 1 billion people are now visiting its online video site each month to watch everything from clips of cute kittens to scenes of social unrest around the world. Click here for more.

Apple and Android

Australian 'Apple Tax' explained: Apple Australia boss Tony King has blamed record labels, movie studios and TV networks for inflated prices of digital media paid by Australians on the iTunes store. Click here for more.

Copyright vs Piracy

Selective enforcement for Skynet: The Copyright Tribunal has settled into a steady rhythm, issuing awards of $255 to $797 against internet users under the "Skynet" regime for music piracy. Click here for more.

Security and Safety

Gamma spyware found across globe: The discovery of a new group of servers linked to an elusive espionage campaign is providing new details about a German-made, high-tech piece of spy software that some fear may be used to target dissidents by oppressive regimes. Click here for more.

Westpac malware hoax hits Aussie inboxes: Hundreds of thousands of bogus malware-laden emails purported to be from Westpac have been sent to Australians, in what a security firm says is the fastest spreading email it can remember. Click here for more.

Hacker jailed for stealing iPad user data: A computer hacker has been was sentenced to three years and five months in prison for stealing the personal data of about 120,000 Apple iPad users, including big-city mayors, a TV network news anchor and a Hollywood movie mogul. Click here for more.

Experts suspect North Korea behind cyber-crash: A cyberattack caused computer networks at major South Korean banks and top TV broadcasters to crash simultaneously, paralysing bank machines across the country and prompting speculation of North Korean involvement. Click here for more.

Vatican website denies Batman hack: One of the Vatican's main Twitter accounts and the website of its communications office ran stories about Batman on Thursday with the headline "Holy Switcheroo!" – raising concerns they might have been hacked. Click here for more.

Hacker leaks venture capitalist emails: John Doerr, a venture capitalist known for early investments in companies such as Amazon and Google, has become the latest victim of the hacker known as Guccifer, according to the Smoking Gun website. Click here for more.

Privacy problems over an online eye: They are known as wearable computers and are yet to hit the streets, but already they are creating controversy. Click here for more.

North Korea training 'cyber warriors': Investigators have yet to pinpoint the culprit behind a synchronised cyber attack in South Korea last week. Click here for more.

The Weird, Wide Web

Mother tries to sell her kids on Facebook: Here's a quick parenting tip: it's not OK to offer to sell your children on Facebook, even if you really need the money. 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.

More Americans turning to Web for news: Nearly 70 per cent of Americans believe traditional journalism is out of touch, and nearly half are turning to the internet to get their news, according to a new survey. Click here for more.

Crackdown on illegal downloaders in Australia: One Australian internet provider has started to crack down on copyright infringers, as the the music industry's plan to have telcos disconnect the internet services of illegal downloaders gathers steam in Australia. Click here for more.

Bimbo website for girls sparks outrage: An internet game which encourages young girls to mould their own virtual "bimbo" doll using diet pills and plastic surgery has infuriated British parents and health experts. Click here for more.

US Army funds $10m bat-droid: The University of Michigan (UM) is pleased to announce that it has been awarded $10m by the US Army to carry out research leading to a "six-inch robotic spy plane modelled after a bat", which would "gather data from sights, sounds and" – worryingly – "smells". Click here for more.

Cyber vigilantes track down Xbox thief: A group of tech-savvy internet users solved a home robbery and seized back stolen goods as police sat stumped looking for clues. 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 April,

Rob Zorn


Copyright 2013 Actrix Networks Limited | Contact: editor@actrix.co.nz