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Actrix Online Informer – June 2014

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 – best little ISP in New Zealand

Welcome to the June Actrix Online Informer

Welcome to the Actrix Online Informer for June 2014. This month we take a look at how you can manage online information about yourself on Google, and what you can do if someone else posts personal information about you on the internet. The we also jump on the bandwagon and show you some of the best jokes and memes created to mock Internet Explorer.

We also round things off with 10 interesting facts we're certain you didn't know about the internet.

YouTube feature

This month's YouTube feature is hilarious! Some YouTuber in the United States got a ticket for not riding his bike in a designated bike lane. He contested the ticket but wasn't successful in overturning the fine. Instead, he made this video to show how ludicrous it is to expect cyclists to stay within the cycle lane.


Rob Zorn

Manage your Google reputation

Nowadays, more and more personal information surfaces on the web. For example, some of your friends might mention your name in a social network or tag you on online photos, or your name could appear in blog posts or articles.

Google search is often the first place people look for information that's published about you. Here are a few ways to manage your online reputation and help control what people see when they search for you on Google:

Search for yourself

Search for your name on Google to see what information about you comes up.

Create a Google profile

With a Google profile, you can manage the information – such as your bio, contact details, and other information about you – that people see. You can also link to other sites about you or that were created by you. For example, you can link to your blog, online photos in Picasa, and other profiles such as Facebook and LinkedIn.

You can create your Google profile here.

Remove unwanted content and the associated search results

If you find content online – say, your telephone number or an embarrassing photo of you – that you don't want to appear online, first determine whether you or someone else controls the content. For example, if the photo you want to hide is part of your Picasa account, you can simply change your photo visibility settings. If, however, the unwanted content resides on a site or page you don't control, you can follow our tips on removing personal information from Google.

Get notified when your personal data appears on the web

You might want to get notified if new information about you – like your name or email address – gets published online. The Me on the Web feature of your Google Dashboard can help you keep an eye on what's out there about you.

Browser bashing

Which browser do you use for surfing the internet? Chrome? Firefox? Internet Explorer? These are just a few of the more popular browsers around. The most popular browser used today is still Internet Explorer, followed closely by Chrome and Firefox. Internet Explorer derives its popularity from the fact that its the default browser installed with Windows, not necessarily because it's the best one around.

In fact, Internet Explorer is often ridiculed and mocked for being slow, clunky and all-round useless. We couldn't possibly comment on that, but others have. Here are some of the funnier jokes and memes created to put Internet Explorer in its place.

10 things you probably didn't know about the internet

Last month we looked at 10 things you probably didn't know about Apple and the iPhone this month we bring you 10 things you probably didn't know about the internet. Enjoy!

  1. The internet accrued 50 million users in just five years. It took TV 13 years to do that.
  2. The honour for the first photo uploaded to the internet belongs to Tim Berners-Lee (who also boasts inventing the World Wide Web). The photo was of an all-girl physics-themed rock band named Les Horribles Cernettes.
  3. 19 percent of married couples meet online, making it the most successful method for meeting the "one." Following an online introduction the most successful methods for meeting a future wife or husband continues to be through work or friends, with each of these methods getting 17 percent of married couples together.
  4. More than 75 percent of all email messages sent today are spam.
  5. The internet weighs as much as a strawberry. Russel Seitz is a physicist who has crunched some very precise numbers. With some atomic physics assumptions, the billions upon billions of 'data-in-motion' moving electrons on the Internet add up to approximately 50 grams, the weight of one strawberry.
  6. Every 60 seconds, 72 hours worth of videos are uploaded to YouTube.
  7. In the 1990s, Bill Gates reportedly said that an Internet browser was 'a trivial piece of software'. Ironically, he later launched one of the most famous web browsers of all time: Internet Explorer.
  8. Some of the more popular websites such as Amazon, Twitter and eBay were almost launched with different names. Amazon was supposed to be named 'Cadabra', Twitter was almost 'Jitter', while eBay could have been known as 'echobay'.
  9. The term 'surfing the Internet' was coined by Jean Armour Polly in 1992.
  10. An idea for the internet was actually being developed in 1945 by American engineer Vannevar Bush. In an article for The Atlantic, he suggested a system called memex into which people would compress and store information. "Wholly new forms of encyclopaedias will appear, ready made with a mesh of associative trails running through them," he said.

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!

Actrix Speed Test
http://speedtest.actrix.co.nz/ – Want to know how fast your internet speed is? Here at Actrix we've built a special internet speed test which our customers can use to see just how fast their internet really is. The speed test measures your download speed, as well as your upload speed. It is only intended for use by Actrix customers, and results will not be meaningful for customers of other internet providers. In order for the test to work, JavaScript must be enabled on your browser and you need at least version 8 of Adobe Flash.

www.coffitivity.com – Do you struggle with productivity? Research shows it's pretty hard to be creative in a quiet space, but a loud workplace can be frustrating and distracting. However, the mix of calm and commotion in an environment like a coffee house is proven to be just what you need to get those creative juices flowing. This website lets you listen to the quiet bustle of a coffee shop while you work, all without having to leave the comfort of your desk.

Proof that kids need pets
http://hopeshared.com/22-photos-that-prove-babies-need-pets – Seeing a 7-foot Irish Wolfhound playing next to a young toddler can be difficult to watch, but this series of photos will help put your mind at ease. These animals are almost seem happy to be roughly cuddled and have their ears pulled by some well-intending children.
Kitchen conversions
http://themetapicture.com/print-this-measurement-guide/ – Ok, so maybe this isn't actually a website, more of an image on a website. That said, it could be one of the most useful images you'll ever see. It's a well-designed conversion chart for your kitchen, letting you figure out exactly how many teaspoons are in cup, how many cups are in a quart, how many tablespoons in a gallon etc. Print this off, throw it in a frame and it'd make a great belated Mothers' Day present.
How geeky are you?
http://games.usvsth3m.com/how-geeky-are-you/ – Do you know your Star Trek from your Star Wars? Do you know your Hubble from your Hubba Bubba? Do you think a transistor is a female Transformer? Find out if you're a top techie or leading Luddite. In this Geek test you'll be shown something, then have to choose the description you first thought of. Answer honestly and pick what really came into your head or you'll never know your true score, right?
Spurious Correlations
http://www.tylervigen.com/ – This is my favourite of the sites I've discovered this month. It lets you take a random group of statistic, such as the number of films Nicolas Cage appeared in, and present it in a graph. Then it looks through a whole range of other statistics until it finds a correlation, or pattern, that matches the same graph as the first statistic you chose. In this case, between 1999 and 2009 there was an almost identical match between Nicolas Cage films and people dying in swimming pools.
JOMD Asia Pacific
www.omd.com We're not including this site because it's funny or quirky, and we're not including it because it's useful or offers interesting information. Instead, we're including it because it's beautifully made. With so many million websites on the internet today it can be hard to stand out. Unique designs are becoming harder and harder to find, so when a site like this comes along, it's worth sharing. I particularly like how the page changes as you scroll, and how it displays photos and videos in the background.
Toiletology 101
www.toiletology.com/index.shtml – Toiletology 101 is an online toilet repair course that's now more than 18 years old! Each day hundreds of students fill the classes of Toiletology 101 and learn they do not need to be a plumber to fix the most common toilet problems. So next time your beloved throne is giving you grief, don't call the plumber just yet – why not jump online and see if you can solve the problem for yourself.
www.stephen.com/mondrimat/mondrian/r.html? – This site is interesting and a little bit weird. It lets you create your own browser art by clicking in different places on the screen. If you click on the right 1/3 of a colour block, it splits in half horizontally. If you click on the lower 1/3 of a block, it splits vertically. If you click anywhere else in a block, you change it's colour. You can also drag the frame dividers to resize your blocks.
Garlic Information Centre
www.garlic.mistral.co.uk/ – Garlic was worshipped by the ancient Egyptians, chewed by Greek Olympian athletes and thought to be essential for keeping vampires at bay! But it is also good for zapping bacteria, keeping your heart healthy, warding off coughs and colds – and don't worry it needn't give you bad breath! There are many benefits associated with taking garlic regularly and all this important information is available from The Garlic Information Centre.

Cyberspace news snippets

What's been happening in the online world?

New Zealand

Defence Ministry staff still using XP: The Defence Ministry's 73 staff are all using unsupported Microsoft Windows XP computers despite the potential security risks. Click here for more.

Second internet cable planned: Southern Cross Cable's near monopoly over international internet traffic appears to be dangling by a thread. Click here for more.

Kim Dotcom's wife axed from companies before split: Kim Dotcom's wife was pulled out of directorship roles of three of the Megaupload founder's New Zealand companies four days before he announced the pair had split but she still controls the family's stake in mega.co.nz. Click here for more.

Blackshades hackers attack Kiwis: New Zealanders are among half a million global victims of computer hackers who used the malicious software Blackshades to hijack personal computers, control webcams and, in some cases, demand ransom money. Click here for more.

Kiwi user hit by Apple hijackers: An "Apple hijacking" scare that has rattled iPad and iPhone users in Australia has spread to New Zealand. Click here for more.

Medsafe urges caution on buying online: Medsafe is warning New Zealanders about the dangers of buying medicines online after almost 250 items were seized by Customs this month. Click here for more.

Kiwi Netflix users cut off: New Zealand internet users say they have been cut off from United States television streaming service Netflix. Click here for more.

Netflix NZ glitch 'unintentional': The issues preventing some Kiwi internet users accessing Netflix appear to be the unintended consequence of technical tweak by the US company, rather than a deliberate attempt to block its service here, experts believe. Click here for more.

Social network connects Kiwi neighbours: While our society is more connected than ever, we are still digitally distant from those who live closest to us – our neighbours. Click here for more.


Lockheed eyes avatars, 3D printing to lower costs: Lockheed Martin, the Pentagon's biggest supplier, is ramping up its use of 3D printing and virtual reality simulators to drive down the huge costs of producing national security satellites and safeguard profits in the face of reductions in US defense spending. Click here for more.

PC TV series to debut on Tumblr: The AMC television network says it is using the social media site Tumblr to premiere its new series about the early days of personal computing. Click here for more.

YouTube buys game streamer Twitch: YouTube is close to buying Twitch, a gameplay video-streaming startup, for $1 billion (NZ$1.15 billion), according to multiple reports. Click here for more.

Nintendo, YouTube content sharing plan: Nintendo is planning an affiliate programme for YouTube content creators who use the publisher's game footage, which would see ad revenue split between Nintendo, Google (who own YouTube), and the video producers themselves. Click here for more.

White, male: Google releases diversity data: Google's workforce is mostly made up of white men, a situation the tech giant says it is trying to change. Click here for more.

Samsung push for common wearables base: Health sensors and devices can get better if rival companies work together, Samsung executives say. Click here for more.

Microsoft CEO unveils Skype Translation: Satya Nadella made one thing clear during his first public interview since taking the reins of the software giant in February: This is Nadella's Microsoft. Click here for more.

Reddit reveals how to ask for favours online: If you manage to look beyond irate commenters and festering trolls, the internet can be a friendly place full of people keen to help a brother out. Click here for more.

Taking selfies seriously: It takes only a few seconds scrolling through Philip Hitchcock's Facebook page to realise the guy likes to take a selfie. Click here for more.

Social Media

The joy of losing friends: Did I just unfriend you? I'm sorry if I hurt your feelings. But I'm not sorry I did it. In fact, I did you a favour. Click here for more.

Facebook introduces new way to flirt: If you've been eyeing someone on Facebook whose profile doesn't list a relationship status, the company is making it easier (or possibly more awkward) to find out if he or she is single. Click here for more.

Facebook 'I'm a Voter' feature goes global: When Americans voted to renew President Barack Obama's lease on the White House in November 2012, more than 9 million citizens took to Facebook to click the "I'm a Voter" button, showing their online friends that they had cast a ballot. Click here for more.

Facebook developing its own video-chat app: Facebook is developing its own video-chat app, known internally as Slingshot, after its failed attempt to acquire mobile messaging startup Snapchat, the Financial Times reported on Sunday. Click here for more.

Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel 'mortified and embarrassed' by sexist, derogatory emails: The co-founder and chief executive of self-destructing messaging app Snapchat might wish his own app existed when he studied at university after old emails and instant messages emerged. Click here for more.

Emerging markets now driving Twitter growth: Twitter's messaging service will have close to 400 million global users by 2018, mostly in Asia, Latin American and the Middle East, consulting firm eMarketer estimates, far short of the 1 billion once expected. Click here for more.

Apple and Android

Apple sued over vanishing texts on Android: A former iPhone user is suing Apple, claiming the company's messaging system interfered with delivery of texts after she switched to an Android smartphone. Click here for more.

Apple, Google settle patent battle: Apple and Google's Motorola Mobility unit have agreed to settle all patent litigation between them over smartphones, ending one of the highest-profile lawsuits in technology. Click here for more.

iPhone 6 to feature ultra-sharp screen resolution, report says: For months, reports have said the next iPhone, or iPhones, will feature significantly larger screens than the one on the iPhone 5s. Now, a new report says they may also feature a significantly higher resolution. Click here for more.

Report: Split-screen feature coming to iPad: Multitaskers, rejoice: Apple is reportedly planning on adding a split-screen feature to the iPad that will allow the tablet to run two apps at the same time. Click here for more.

iPhone 6 set for early release: Apple will reportedly unveil the next incarnation of its popular iPhone series in August - a month earlier than industry watchers were generally expecting. Click here for more.

Security and Privacy

Why you are your best cyber security: In case you have been living under a rock, online security is back on the agenda in a big way because of a little thing called Heartbleed. Click here for more.

Crackdown on Blackshades hackers: Australian authorities have joined a co-ordinated global crackdown on computer hackers who use software known as Blackshades for sinister purposes. Click here for more.

US cyberspying charges against Chinese: The United States Justice Department has accused five members of the Chinese military of conducting economic cyber-espionage against American companies, marking the first time that the US has leveled such criminal charges against a foreign country. Click here for more.

Snowden denies relationship with Russia: Former US National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden told a US television interviewer he was not under the control of Russia's government and had given Moscow no intelligence documents after nearly a year of asylum there. Click here for more.

Call for more data broker transparency: Companies are collecting billions of pieces of information about consumers to create individual profiles to more effectively target individuals for coupons or product offers, decide whether a would-be buyer gets a car loan or help people check out a potential mate. Click here for more.

LulzSec informant escapes jail sentence: A computer hacker who helped the government disrupt hundreds of cyberattacks on Congress, Nasa and other sensitive targets and cripple the hacktivist crew known as Anonymous got a hero's welcome at his sentencing in federal court, where prosecutors hugged him after he was spared more prison time. Click here for more.

Spotify user data breached: Music streaming service Spotify will ask some of its 40 million users to re-enter their passwords and upgrade their software in coming days after detecting unauthorised access to its internal systems and data. Click here for more.

The Weird, Wide Web

Game developer puts Deus Ex chip in hand: Zoe Quinn doesn't just make heartfelt, experimental games like Depression Quest. She's also pretty set on becoming a cyborg, judging from the cyberpunk as hell implants she's got over the last couple of years. Click here for more.

Google changes its logo ever so slightly: Blink and you'll miss it. Search giant Google recently changed its logo. But there's a good chance you probably didn't even know about it until now. 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.

Internet's effects may be taught: The lasting effects of the internet on children's lives could soon be as big a part of the school health curriculum as sexuality, drug use and contraception. Click here for more.

$1 tractor auction heads to the wire: They have been "hanging on" for a week but the couple who put a tractor up for auction with a $1 reserve, with a farm thrown in for free, have just over two days to wait to see how much their gamble will be worth. Click here for more.

School lunches go online: Not many people consider starting a business in the midst of a recession, let alone being six months' pregnant as well, but Emma Griffin did. The 32-year-old Christchurch mother of three children started trialling Kids School Lunches at the beginning of the year, and is gearing up to expand the business. Click here for more.

Facebook turns blind eye to racism: Facebook has again come under fire for ignoring racism on the site after it refused to ban controversial groups that deny the Holocaust. Click here for more.

Susan Boyle in most watched videos of all time : US rapper Soulja Boy's Crank That music video is the most viewed viral web hit of all time, but in just three weeks Scottish singer Susan Boyle is well on her way to grabbing that crown, web analytics firm Visible Measures says. 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 June!

Rob Zorn


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