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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 November Actrix Online Informer

Welcome to the Actrix Online Informer for November 2013.

This month we continue our discussion on backing up your valuable information. Last month we looked at the difference between cloud storage and external hardrives – this month we look at partitioning your own computer to store backups locally.

We also introduce our great new website which gives us a significantly improved standing in the online market place.

YouTube feature

This month's YouTube feature is about Charles Ingram who appeared on Who wants to be a Millionaire in 2001 and won the million pounds. However,it was soon discovered he had cheated his way to the million, and this video explains how he did it, and how he got caught.


Rob Zorn

Backing up your valuable information: Part 2

Last month we looked at some of the best ways to backup your valuable documents and information by examining the differences between backing up to the cloud or an external hard drive.

You can read last month's article here, but in summary, we thought using both the cloud and an external hard drive was the best way to guarantee the safety of your valuable information. External hard drives are relatively cheap and simple to use, but can still break and get stolen. Backing up to the cloud was generally a little more expensive, but was more effective in that your information couldn't get stolen or dropped and could easily be downloaded again from anywhere.

This month we're going to explore a third option – backing up your information on your own computer.

Creating local backups on your computer has its advantages. For one, it means that your backups are always there – if you find yourself needing to restore your backed-up data, you don't need to download files from the cloud, or plug in an external drive. And vice-vera, when creating your backup, there's no need to upload anything to the cloud or plug in to your computer. And unlike cloud storage or external backups, there's no cost involved.

But local backups also have their disadvantages. Having a backup stored on the same device as the original data means if you drop a cup of coffee on your computer or drop your laptop, there's a greater chance both sets of data (the original and the backup) will be destroyed. Storing the data on an external hard drive or on the cloud removes this risk.

How to create a local backup

To create a local backup of your data, you'll first need to partition your hard drive. A partition is a division within a drive which separates the drive into two parts. While both parts are still essentially the same drive, they are treated by the computer as if they were two separate drives. Having a partitioned drive means one side of the drive can be for standard use, and the other can be used to store your backup.

Most modern computers come with a pre-partitioned hard drive, but if you need to create a partition yourself, here's a great tutorial for PCs, and here's a tutorial for MAC users.

After your hard drive has been partitioned, the computer will continue to depend on one side of the partition, without using the other. Now you can copy all the files, photos, videos and documents you want to keep and protect into the new partitioned drive. Then, next time you edit a document or accidentaly delete your photo, your computer will have an exact replica stored there for you.

Automatic backups

There are a range of products and software packages that will automatically backup your data to a specific place on your hard drive, or to a partitioned drive.

For example, if you are a subscriber to Norton antivirus, it's likely you'll have access to their great backup and recovery tool. It lets you designate what fils and folders you want to backup, how often you want the backup to run, and where you want the backup stored. Software like this makes backing up easy.

If you run another antivirus program, it's likely you'll also have a similar feature.

But there are a range of options when it comes to backup software and programs. This article takes you through eleven different free programs that will manage the backup process for you.

But as mentioned in the beginning of this article, there are both advantages and disadvantages to local backups. If you have important information and files ou just cannot afford to lose, then perhaps all three options (cloud storage, external hard drive and local backups) is the way to go for you.

Our brand new website!

If you've visited recently, you may have noticed things were looking just a little different – that's because last month we were excited to roll-out our brand new website!

The new website is a total rebuild – fresh and contemporary – giving us a significantly improved standing in the online market place.

We hope you love the new website and look forward to hearing your feedback!

My Actrix, our customer portal is unchanged and the log in remains in the top right corner of each page.

Upgrading My Actrix is next on our agenda with the website and system upgrades the first step.

The new website features a simple way of viewing all of our products, easy to use address verification which showcases which technologies are available at an address, is fully searchable, and looks brilliant!

Feel free to explore – use the search bar, check out our support archives under "Help" or meet the team by going to "About us".

Existing customers will be emailed in the next few days a feedback form to gather your valued feedback about the websites redesign.

Feel free to let us know your thoughts on twitter (@Actrix) or on facebook (

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!

Where the hell is Paris? – Do you know your Timbuktoo from your Tokoroa? Your Paris from your Palmerston North? Put your geography knowledge and experitse to the test with this coold quiz. Place your marker on the map where you think each city is, and then find out how far off you were. The site also tells you how well you did compared to everyone else who has answered that question.
Create your own nebula – A nebula is a cloud of gas and dust in outer space, visible in the night sky either as a creamy web of light. This site lets you create your own nebula. It's simple to use, and the end product looks great. You can also download your nebula, which would look great as the background image on your computer or phone.
One word wordsearch – We all remember doing wordsearches in school, looking for a list of words in a jumble of letters. Well this site lets you create a different type of wordsearch, where all you have to find is a single word. Sounds easy, but is much harder when the jumble of letters is made up of the same letters of the one word you're trying to find.
World Elephant Polo Association – This website is for the World Elephant Polo Association, arguably the largest sport in the world. Keen to know how you can get involved? This site has information on the rules, the history of the sport, world news and a sweet gallery of the sport being played.
Darwin Awards – The Darwin Awards are dedicated to recognising some of the strangest and most unusual ways people have died, generally as a result of their own stupidity. There's the investigatvie journalist who froze to death while "getting inside the lives" of homeless people, and a guy who thought he'd calm his nerves after accidentaly drinking petrol by smoking a cigarette.
Y5B – The Year 5 Billion Bug – The Sun has been active for approximately 4.6 billion years. However, it only has enough fuel to go on for another five billion years (Y5B). At the end of its life, the Sun will start to fuse helium into heavier elements and begin to swell up, ultimately growing so large that it will engulf the Earth. Life on earth will change as we know it. First we will have mildly warmer temperatures, then a heat wave will be with us, and finally it will get cold... real cold. Thus, the Year Five Billion will be here.
h2g2 – h2g2 is a constantly expanding, user-generated guide to life, the universe and everything. The site was founded in 1999 by Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy author Douglas Adams. Anyone can write for h2g2 – which already has hundreds of thousands of Entries on a range of subjects, from Aardvarks to Zombies, Polonium to Pooh Sticks, and Absolute Zero to Hilbert's Infinite Hotel.
The center for prevention of shopping cart abuse – The Center for Prevention of Shopping Cart Abuse is an organisation dedicated to preventing the pervasiveness of Shopping Cart abuse. They work on the local, the national, the international level and beyond to fight abusers who are trying to undermine fundamental pillars of society. Their site is here to help you understand this unspoken threat, to offer counsel to those who cause harm to the Cart and to sing the praises of the silver chariot of the parking lot.

Perpetual bubble wrap – Everyone loves popping bubble wrap – the ultimate time waster and stress releiver. This site takes popping bubble wrap to the next level with perpetual bubble wrap popping action. Pop a bubble, and watch as it grows back. Enjoy at your own timewasting peril.

Dumb crooks – The world is full of dumb criminals, but some are just not cut out for a life of crime. Through a combination of bad luck and sheer incompetence, these wannabe-criminals take dumb risks, make bad decisions and rip off the wrong people. Each story on this site either ends with the crim behind bars or in a box six feet under.

Cyberspace news snippets

What's been happening in the online world?

New Zealand

Network boon for e-learning: A Palmerston North secondary school with faster internet firmly in its sights has been given the nod from the Government to pilot a world-leading digital infrastructure programme in the city. Click here for more.

Youth love tech, but not so savvy: New Zealand's young people may be among the most tech savvy in the world, but all that time spent online does not mean they are computer experts. Click here for more.

Kickstarter now taking Kiwi projects: Kickstarter in New Zealand won't open up to the public until November 13, but right now if you're a Kiwi with a need to crowdfund, you can start building your projects on the site ready for the go-live date. Click here for more.

Mobile roaming charges set to fall: Mobile phone bills are set to fall on both sides of the Tasman after the Australian and New Zealand governments indicated they will honour a deal to crack down on exorbitant roaming charges. Click here for more.


Women scientists, Wikipedia under microscope: Look up a female scientist or technologist on Wikipedia, and you might not find what you're looking for. Click here for more.

Could Xbox's cloud make games last forever?: At Microsoft's huge Xbox reveal earlier this year, the company made a big hubbub about the 300,000 cloud servers it would be adding to help speed up GPU and CPU heavy tasks. Click here for more.

Aaron Swartz's last gift to journalism: Before Aaron Swartz's suicide in January, he had nearly completed work with Wired's Kevin Poulsen on a secure system to accept messages and documents from anonymous sources over the internet. Click here for more.

World's first programmer: Victorian woman: Does the name Ada Lovelace ring any bells? No? Seeing as you're reading this on a computer, tablet or smartphone, it should. Click here for more.

Women business owners leading digital way: Women business owners are more comfortable in the digital space than their male counterparts, a new survey reveals. Click here for more.

Viewers choose data over hi-def TVs: Viewers are ditching large, high-definition televisions in favour of smartphone, tablets and personal computers screens and they are using them to watch soaps. Click here for more.

Why are computers so logical?: Even the most clear-headed among us act illogically from time to time, but in an age of ubiquitous computers there is more logic in your life than you perhaps realise. Click here for more.

Bionic man breathes with artificial parts: The term "bionic man" was the stuff of science fiction in the 1970s, when a popular TV show called The Six Million Dollar Man chronicled the adventures of Steve Austin, a former astronaut whose body was rebuilt using artificial parts after he nearly died. Click here for more.

Data storage: wandering into a digital desert: There's an ironic twist to this great digital age. We probably store more information about ourselves now than was kept by all past generations combined, yet when future archaeologists start digging back to 2013, they may find precious little. Click here for more.

Tech stress builds with gadget proliferation: The signs of tech stress are everywhere: The iPhone junkie freaking out over his contacts being swallowed alive by the new iOS 7 software. Click here for more.

Valve engineers' augmented reality glasses: It feels as though we're on the verge of some kind of transformative change in video games. Click here for more.

Opt out of Google's shared endorsements: Google recently announced an update to its Terms of Service, focused on displaying your profile name and photo next to advertisements and reviews. Click here for more.

Megaupload takedown killed 10m innocent files: When Megaupload got taken down two years ago, it took a whole hell of a lot of data with it. Click here for more.

Obamacare website glitches 'unacceptable': US President Barack Obama will declare the glitches in a new healthcare website "unacceptable" on Monday and outline ways for consumers to sign up for insurance while his team scrambles to fix problems that have tainted the rollout of his signature healthcare law. Click here for more.

Amazon's deals must change – watchdog: Germany's antitrust watchdog accused Amazon of undermining competition when dealing with third-party merchants and said it would impose reform unless the internet retailer changed its rules, a German newspaper reported. Click here for more.

Microsoft pulls Windows update to fix problems: Microsoft has pulled a Windows update from its website after it caused problems on some customers' devices. Click here for more.

Three great ways to shop online: Unless you are a really difficult size, you could probably be saving a lot of money buying your clothes online. Here are three places to start. Click here for more.

Shocking sexism in Google search: Have you ever tried typing "women should," "women shouldn't" or "women can't" into Google? The autocomplete suggestions you get may surprise and horrify you, as a new series of ads from UN Women makes abundantly clear. Click here for more.

Social Media

Facebook relaxes privacy policies for teenagers: Facebook has relaxed its privacy policies for teenagers on its network, allowing underage users to share more information with the general public. Click here for more.

Twitter lets any follower direct messages you: Twitter is changing the way direct messages work. Click here for more.

Onavo buy boosts Facebook's internet plan: Facebook bought Israeli mobile app-maker Onavo to use its data-saving capabilities for a project aimed at making the internet available to billions of people round the world who are not online. Click here for more.

Apple and Android

Need motivation? There's an app for that: Ever suspect you do more housework than your spouse? Or that certain tasks at work raise your blood pressure? Maybe you wonder why you are sneezing more lately, or if carbs are really what is making you tired after lunch? Click here for more.

Ireland to close Apple's tax loophole: Ireland said it plans to shut down a much-criticised tax arrangement used by Apple to shelter over US$40 billion from taxation - but will leave open an even bigger loophole that means the computer giant is unlikely to pay any more tax. Click here for more.

App lets you secretly save Snapchats: The new app SnapHack lets you effortlessly download any Snap (pic and video alike) without the person on the other end ever having any idea that their privacy has just been demolished. Click here for more.

Every Snapchat can tell a Story for a day: With a single update, popular app Snapchat has gone from a quirky messaging platform with a dodgy reputation to a social network for the future. Click here for more.

Apple sneak peek of its proposed headquarters: Apple's Peter Oppenheimer, the baby-faced high priest of finance for the world's most valuable company, gazed up at the oversized map on the wall. Click here for more.

Tool to split smartphone's work/personal info: There is no shortage of surveys pointing to the difficulties people have separating work and home life in the age of the smartphone. Click here for more.

Angela Ahrendts takes a bite out of Apple: Burberry chief executive Angela Ahrendts rebuilt the British luxury brand after excessive exposure of its trademark chequered pattern alienated wealthy clientele. Click here for more.

Copyright vs Piracy

Downloads helped Breaking Bad – creator: Breaking Bad, a TV show permanently sculpted onto television's Mount Rushmore, whipped itself from a critically acclaimed yet not exactly ratings dominant TV show into THE bizz-bizz-buzzy pop culture phenomenon of the year as the series raced to its end. Click here for more.

Security and Safety

Could Rorschach tests replace CAPTCHA?: The CAPTCHA is a wonderful thing, but it's not without its failings. Click here for more.

Anonymous target alleged rapist: As soon as the Kansas City Star published a chilling report of another small town with a football player accused of rape who isn't being prosecuted, it became inevitable that Anonymous, an internet collective that prides itself on vigilante justice, would step in. Click here for more.

Forget the NSA, that spy may be your spouse: It's not just the US National Security Agency spying on smartphones. Many ordinary people are also using sophisticated software to eavesdrop on the wireless communications of their lovers, children and business rivals. Click here for more.

Why have passwords taken over our lives?: We have to change them all the time. They need to have numbers or punctuation as well as letters, and can't repeat any of your old passwords, which is pretty standard. Click here for more.

NSA delayed anti-leak software at Snowden base: The US National Security Agency failed to install the most up-to-date anti-leak software at a site in Hawaii before contractor Edward Snowden went to work there and downloaded tens of thousands of highly classified documents, current and former US officials told Reuters. Click here for more.

New NSA deputy leads anti-leaks task force: Richard Ledgett, who heads a new task force at the National Security Agency to handle information leaks, is expected to take over as the deputy director of the spy agency after the current No. 2 retires in January, sources told Reuters. Click here for more.

The Weird, Wide Web

Phone stops bullet, saves man's life: A Florida petrol station clerk dodged a bullet as his cellphone absorbed the round fired by a fleeing robber. 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.

Trio face $200,000 fines in first spam prosecution: Three men are each facing a $200,000 fine in the first prosecution in New Zealand under tough anti-spamming laws. Click here for more.

Invercargill student expelled for hacking school: A pupil at Invercargill's James Hargest College has been expelled after hacking into the school's computer system and accessing sensitive information about pupils and teachers. Click here for more.

How web-savvy are New Zealand's minor political parties?: In part one of this series on New Zealand party political websites I looked at Labour and National and found that National were streaks ahead of Labour. Now it's time to review the online presence of the minor political parties. Click here for more.

Rapid growth in NZ broadband use: New Zealand was switching to broadband faster than most other Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development countries in the first half of the year, with the sixth highest growth rate in connections. Click here for more.

The kiss and tell of social networks: Twitter is a "microblogging" tool that allows users to fire off haiku-like, 140-character messages to the world about anything. True adherents can send dozens of messages daily and receive thousands in return. Often they are ridiculously banal, sometimes fascinating, but always deeply personal. 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 November,

Rob Zorn 


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