Actrix Online Informer – August 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.
Welcome to the August Actrix Online Informer
Welcome to the Actrix Online Informer for August 2014. This month we take a close look at the terms of service you agree to when you install or update programs on your computer. Don't worry, it's nothing as drastic as agreeing to sell your firstborn son to Microsoft.
We also take a quick look at some of the benefits of switching to naked broadband.
This month's YouTube feature is heartwarming video of cocoa farmers from the Ivory Coast tasting chocolate for the very first time. Apparently they've never tasted the wonderful chocolatey goodness that one makes from cocoa beans – and some weren't even sure what the "whites" did with the cocoa beans!
These days whenever you install or update a program on your computer, chances are you'll have to agree to that program's terms of service. Usually that just involves ticking a box to say you agree, but have you ever stopped to read what exactly you're agreeing to?
If you're like 99.9 percent of the population, you won't have ever read a program's terms of service. They're long, filled with technical and legal jargon, and you have better things to do. Apple's iTunes terms of service is 28 pages long, and more than 15,000 words. Nobody's got time to read that.
But perhaps we should be reading these terms of service. While we expect companies to be reasonable, there are bound to be things in there that will make you a little nervous, scared or confused.
But to save you the time, we've found a few of the most important things you're agreeing to.
Facebook has permission to use your photos and videos for whatever it wants.
Yes – you read that right. If you're driving down the motorway and spot a billboard of your Facebook profile photo, there's nothing you can do, since by signing up to Facebook and agreeing to their terms of service, you've given them that right.
You still own all of your content, but Facebook is allowed to use it and give other people the right to use it, too. The only way to revoke the license is by deleting the content from Facebook.
If it seems out of line, it's actually pretty common among other social media sites. Twitter, Instagram and Google all have similar clauses in their terms.
You can't use Facebook if you're a convicted sex offender.
This one is pretty straightforward. If you've been convicted of a sex crime, you aren't allowed to register for Facebook.
You're required to keep your contact information up to date.
Facebook requires all users to keep their profiles updated with any changes to their contact information so it can make sure your account is kept secure.
While it doesn't specify a timetable for email addresses, the terms say you need to update your cellphone number within 48 hours of making the change.
How you explore Twitter, and how you got there.
You're not allowed to squat on a username.
Are you planning to set up a Twitter account for your kid to use when he's old enough? That's not allowed, according to Twitter's terms of service. Twitter typically deletes most accounts within six to nine months of inactivity, so it's unlikely you'd be able to get away with it anyway.
You're not allowed to post sexually suggestive content.
This one might seem like a no-brainer, but it's not just nudity that's banned. The rule itself isn't very specific, but its sets a presumably lower benchmark than similar rules from Facebook and Twitter limiting offensive content.
You're not supposed to send ideas to Instagram, but if the company actually reads them and likes them, it'll use them.
Instagram's terms outline the company's policy "not to accept or consider content, information, ideas, suggestions or other materials other than those we have specifically requested." But, there's a caveat: If, for some reason, your brilliant idea catches the eye of a higher-up, then Instagram can use it and doesn't have to give you a cent.
You can't add anyone you don't actually know.
If you're familiar with the networking platform, you'll know that you have to specify how you know someone before you invite her to connect on LinkedIn. If you can't offer a mutual school or workplace, or don't have an email address linked to her account, LinkedIn won't let you connect.
But proving your acquaintance with a potential connection isn't just a spam roadblock; it's written into LinkedIn's terms, too. That said, plenty of people violate it without caring. Networking is cutthroat sometimes, man.
Your profile can't promote escort or prostitution services – even if they're legal where you live.
Let's say you're the proprietor of a lawful business that pairs clients with escorts for, uh, intimate companionship. Don't bother networking on LinkedIn, because that's against the rules.
You're not allowed to lie.
It's said that honesty is the best policy. For LinkedIn, honesty is policy. The network's user agreement bans users from adding inaccurate information to their profiles. It's also usually easy for prospective employers to catch, so it's not worth it in the first place.
We've come along way since waiting six months for news via a telegram and as new technologies come and go, the demise of traditional fixed phone lines in New Zealand households is giving rise to naked broadband.
Kiwi's are increasingly going mobile, the International Data Corporation (IDC) has noted the number of nationwide fixed line connections has dropped at a rate of 1.4 percent per year and 7 percent of the country's broadband population are on naked broadband plans.
As New Zealand ISP's internet reliability improves, more people are making the move to naked broadband. Canstar Blue released survey results showing a third of those born in the 1980s and 1990s do not have landlines.
What are the benefits of Naked Broadband?
So what are you waiting for? Drop us a line and find out how Actrix can assist you in changing to naked broadband.
The Web turns 25
In other news the World Wide Web celebrated it's 25th birthday this year, talk a walk down memory lane and check out these Then and Now website transformations to see how the likes of Google and Amazon have kept current with their homepage designs.
If you want a little more schooling, watch this video clip that sums up the history of the internet in 8 minutes.
And if you're having a rather long lunch break, this entertaining video breaks down the difference between the web and the internet.
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?
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Cyberspace news snippets
What's been happening in the online world?
Govt digital services use surges: The Government has reported mixed results in its drive to make it easier for people to deal with the public service. Click here for more.
Westpac whips out digital wallet early: New Zealand's top mobile payments boss is disappointed Westpac has jumped the gun with its own "digital wallet", but hopes it will return to the fold. Click here for more.
Chromebooks to return to Kiwi shelves: Google's answer to Microsoft Windows computers, Chromebooks, should be back on the shelves of New Zealand consumer electronics stores within weeks. Click here for more.
Sole trader privacy concerns linger: The Office of the Privacy Commissioner says it is still talking to the Government about the privacy implications of extending "unique identifiers" to sole traders. Click here for more.
ISP's overly aggressive service goes viral: American internet provider Comcast is apologising after one of its customer service representatives gave a customer a very hard time when he tried to cancel his service. Click here for more.
Xbox Entertainment Studios closing: Despite ambitious plans for original video programming on Xbox One, Microsoft has announced it will close Xbox Entertainment Studios amid company-wide job cuts. Click here for more.
Austrian computing pioneer dead at 94: Heinz Zemanek, who briefly put Austria in the vanguard of European computing in the 1950s with his "May Breeze" computer, has died in Vienna at the age of 94, his old university said. Click here for more.
Wikipedia edited to blame Ukraine for MH17: The Russian government has reportedly been caught editing a Wikipedia page relating to crashed Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 and removing references to Russian involvement. Click here for more.
Don't look at internet protocols, look in the mirror: Like it or not, we're all part of the internet. I'm not referring to the cortical implants that certain conspiracy theorists think are installed in our heads. Click here for more.
Downtrodden vent in anonymous apps: Society is showcasing its best and worst side via apps that anonymously broadcast thoughts to a group of strangers. Click here for more.
MIT finger device reads to the blind: Scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology are developing an audio reading device to be worn on the index finger of people whose vision is impaired, giving them affordable and immediate access to printed words. Click here for more.
Google sponsors charities for Glass: wGoogle has chosen five charities to develop ideas using web-connected Google Glass to enhance their work. Click here for more.
LG's new 18-inch screen bends like paper: LG Display has developed an 18-inch (45cm) flexible display that can be rolled into the shape of a thin cylinder, a step toward making a large display for flexible TVs. Click here for more.
Lean, mean, new-generation screen: We are not allowed cameras, so I'm taking every detail in. The room is vast but almost full, with gigantic metal contraptions repeating themselves into the orderly distance. Click here for more.
A cage to block out the waves: Today connectivity is king and to keep our devices talking to one another waves of electromagnetism wash over us constantly. Click here for more.
Google deal to develop 'smart' contact lens: Swiss drugmaker Novartis has struck an agreement with Google to develop "smart" contact lenses that would help diabetics to track their blood glucose levels or restore the eye's ability to focus. Click here for more.
Scientists create an invisible black: There is a new black. It's darker and much more mysterious - so mysterious that, according to scientists, you are unlikely to be able to see it. Click here for more.
Has the universal remote had its day?: With the rise of smart TVs and clever gadgets, do you still need that one remote to rule them all? Click here for more.
Cellphone lanes an elaborate experiment: Pedestrians walking along sidewalk in the US capital found themselves with a choice this week. "No cellphones," said lettering on one side of the footpath. "Cellphones," the other lane said. "Walk at your own risk." Click here for more.
Who inherits your Facebook when you die?: A group of influential US lawyers says it has an answer to the question of what should happen to Facebook, Yahoo, Gmail and other online accounts when a person dies. Click here for more.
Google+ does away with real name rule: Google has heard your complaints and now says you don't have to give your real name to its social network. Click here for more.
Facebook tests 'Buy' button in US: Facebook is testing a "Buy" button in its latest effort to help businesses boost their sales through the world's biggest online social network. Click here for more.
Gaza social media chatter not all it seems: A computer lab staffed by students in an Israeli university is playing a key role in the war of information in the Gaza conflict. Click here for more.
Social media can feed Munchausen by proxy: Experts say the case of a mother accused of poisoning her 5-year-old son to death with salt appears be an example of how social media feeds into Munchausen by proxy, a disorder in which caretakers purposely harm children and then bask in the attention and sympathy. Click here for more.
Apple vs. Android vs. Amazon
Amazon ponders Netflix-like site for ebooks: Amazon.com Inc is considering a new e-book subscription service called "Kindle Unlimited," that aims to replicate popular video-streaming models for the digital books market, according to several online reports and a test page that briefly appeared on the internet retailer's website. Click here for more.
Closer look at Amazon's ebook Netflix: Amazon's new "Kindle Unlimited" e-book service lets you read 600,000 books. That sounds like more than you'll ever read, but I found myself struggling to find the books I wanted. Click here for more.
Netflix tops 50m subscribers, earnings soar: Netflix's second-quarter earnings more than doubled as new episodes from a hit series helped the Internet video service surpass 50 million worldwide subscribers for the first time. Click here for more.
Apple, IBM team up for business gadgets: Apple is teaming up with former nemesis IBM in an attempt to sell more iPhones and iPads to corporate customers and government agencies. Click here for more.
Google's modular phone takes shape: Project Ara, Google's ambitious plan to create customisable modular smartphones, just moved one step closer to becoming reality. Click here for more.
Android lawsuit plays into rivals' hands: A US consumer lawsuit accusing Google of monopolising prime real estate on Android smartphones will help mobile rivals like Microsoft make their antitrust case with European regulators should damaging secrets emerge in court. Click here for more.
Apple orders 80m large-screen iPhones: Apple has asked suppliers to manufacture between 70 million and 80 million of its two forthcoming large-screen iPhones by the end of the year, its largest initial production run of iPhones, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing people familiar with the matter. Click here for more.
Disabled demand more from Apple: Advocates for the blind are debating whether to use a carrot or a stick to persuade one of their oldest allies, Apple, to close an emerging digital divide in mobile technology. Click here for more.
Copyright vs Piracy
Bing taking 'right to be forgotten' requests: Microsoft has started taking requests from individuals in Europe who want to be removed from its Bing search engine results following a court judgment in May guaranteeing the "right to be forgotten". Click here for more.
Watermark claims to sink digital pirates: Illegal downloaders could soon sow the seeds of their own destruction. A new tamper-proof digital watermark that has been developed in Australia is promising to capture information about people who have downloaded and distributed copyright-protected material. Click here for more.
Studios seek proof of Dotcom extravagance: Movie and music studios suing Kim Dotcom are seeking full disclosure of his assets, citing extravagant holidays, parties and his offer of a $5 million bounty to show he is still living extravagantly. Click here for more.
Security and Privacy
US judge OKs warrant for user's gmails: A federal judge in New York has granted prosecutors access to a Gmail user's emails as part of a criminal probe, a decision that could fan the debate over how aggressively the government may pursue data if doing so may invade people's privacy. Click here for more.
US net neutrality debate nears first marker: US companies, consumer advocates and citizens submitted more than 1 million comments to the Federal Communications Commission, drawing contentious divisions on the issue of net neutrality as the first deadline to comment approached last week. Click here for more.
Talk on cracking Tor cancelled: A highly anticipated talk on how to identify users of the internet privacy service Tor was withdrawn from the upcoming Black Hat security conference, a spokeswoman for the event said on Monday. Click here for more.
Smart light bulbs exposes Wi-Fi passwords: Thought your wirelessly connected smart light bulbs were safe from hackers? Think again. Click here for more.
iPhone danger to national security in China: Chinese state media on branded Apple's iPhone a threat to national security because of the smartphone's ability to track and time-stamp user locations. Click here for more.
Germany's antidote to spying: typewriters: Germany is considering going back to the trusty old typewriter to counter alleged spying by the US government. Click here for more.
Device to protect cars from cyber attacks: Two security experts who a year ago exposed methods for hacking the Toyota Prius and Ford Escape say they have developed technology that would keep automobiles safe from cyber attacks. Click here for more.
The Weird, Wide Web
How one man wrote 8.5% of Wikipedia: Swedish physicist Sverker Johansson has degrees in economics, particle physics, linguistics and civil engineering. He is also, arguably, the most prolific writer of all time. Click here for more.
Facebook app for famous people only: Facebook has rolled out a new iOS app for celebrities and public figures, making it easier for them to interact with fans. The app, Facebook Mentions, lets users see what fans are saying in a dedicated mentions feed and start mobile Q&As. Click here for more.
You could be allergic to your iPad: Unexplained rash? Check your iPad. It turns out the popular tablet computer may contain nickel, one of the most common allergy-inducing metals. Click here for more.
Preparing for death the Yahoo way: In Japan, preparing for major events in life has become an institution. So much so that there's a whole preparation vocabulary: There's shukatsu, for when you're looking for a job; konkatsu, for when you're looking to get married; and ninkatsu, for when you're hoping to get pregnant. Click here for more.
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.
Kiwi town's free internet plan: GStratford has launched a daring plan to become the first New Zealand town with free broadband internet for everyone. Click here for more.
Internet hoax draws threats: Police are investigating a nasty cyber-hoax in which the victim has become the unwitting target of gang threats. A man's photo and cellphone number were published on anti-Mongrel Mob and anti-Black Power profiles on social networking site Bebo Click here for more.
Mum flogs daughter's clothes: A Manukau mum battling to get her teenage daughter to clean up her room has bundled up the clothes she refused to put away and is selling them on TradeMe. Click here for more.
Two more sacked over internet use: Two more former Safe Air employees fired over their internet use at work are challenging their dismissal through the Employment Relations Authority. The news comes after the authority last week ruled Safe Air must re-instate a staff member sacked for sending vulgar emails. Click here for more.
Labour floats copyright levy: Labour communications spokeswoman Clare Curran says a charge on internet accounts should be considered to recompense copyright holders for downloaded material. Click here for more.
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