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Actrix Online Informer – July 2015

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 July Actrix Online Informer

Welcome to the Actrix Online Informer for July 2015. This month we've collected a whole bunch of crazy and interesting tech facts from around the world. Some are startling, some are scary, and some are just unbelievable!

We also include an article on internet addiction which was provided by one of our readers. It explores the nature of cyber addiction, and takes a close look at the causes, symptoms and effects.

YouTube feature

This month's YouTube feature is a quick video that teaches you 10 bets you will always win. Whether you're struggling for conversation at a dinner party or looking to impress your friends down at the pub, these tricks will guarantee to win you people's affections, and maybe even a little bit of their money if they're willing to put it where their mouth is.

Crazy tech facts

In a world run by internet connectivity for all aspects of life, from efficient work operations and management to social networking connections, it is no surprise that information is the foundation of our collective future. That being said, here are some quirky and crazy facts about technology that you may find surprising.

1. On eBay, there is an average of $680 worth of transactions every second.

2. Ninety-one percent of all adults have their mobile phone within arm's reach every hour of every day.

3. There are 6.8 billion people on the planet and 4 billion of them use a mobile phone. Only 3.5 billion of them use a toothbrush.

4. Hewlett Packard, Microsoft, as well as Apple have one not so obvious thing in common they were all started in a garage.

5. Twenty-five percent of Americans use only a mobile device to use the Internet.

6. Every minute, 100 hours of video are uploaded on YouTube by individual users.

7. There are 271 million mobile subscribers within the United States alone, and numbers are quickly growing.

8. Two hundred and twenty million tons of old computers and other technology devices are trashed in the United States each year.

9. Ninety percent of text messages are read within three minutes of being delivered.

10. Thirty million individuals watch television programming from their mobile phones.

11. The average 21-year-old has spent 5,000 hours playing video games, sent 250,000 emails, instant messages, and text messages, and has spent 10,000 hours on a mobile phone alone.

12. The first personal computer was created by Berkeley Enterprises. Affectionately referred to as Simon, it sold for a pricey $300 in 1950.

13. It has been 40 years since the world's first mobile phone call successfully took place.

14. On average, technology users carry 2.9 devices on them at all times.

15. There are 350 million Snapchat messages sent every day.

16. Since the company's inception, there have been 144.7 million individual visitors to Facebook, making it the most visited social networking site as of June 2013.

17. RadioShack was one of the first companies to start the personal computer revolution, back in 1970, with its TRS-80.

18. The first mouse was invented by Douglas Engelbart in 1963; it consisted of a hard wooden shell and two clunky metal wheels.

19. Of the 60 billion emails that are sent on a daily basis, 97 percent are considered spam.

20. The first cell phone sold in the United States the Motorola DynaTAC 8000X was designed by Rudy Krolopp in April of 1984. It weighed two pounds.

21. Google handles an estimated 1 billion search queries each and every day, releasing almost 200 tons of CO2 per day.

22. There are 500 apps added each day to the Windows Phone Store.

23. The man known as the Father of Information Theory, Claude Shannon, invented the digital circuit the foundation of the magic that provides us all access to the Internet today – during his master's degree program, when he was just 21 years old.

Any other cool tech facts we missed?

Computer and internet addiction symptoms, causes and effects

Last month we were contacted by Melissa who has written an interesting article on addiction to the internet. The article explores this addiction, and looks at its symptoms, causes and effects.

The Internet has made life a lot easier by making information more accessible to all and creating connections with different people around the world. However, it has also led a lot of people to spend too much time in front of the computer, so much so that it becomes the centre of their lives. This can lead to an Internet or computer addiction.

An internet or computer addiction is defined as the excessive use of the former or the latter. The latest edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders actually includes it as a disorder that needs further study and research. In a publication on the National Centre for Biotechnology Information website, the study, which was conducted by the Department of Adult Psychiatry in the Poland Medical University, showed that internet addiction was seen to be quite common among young people, even children. In fact, it claimed that one in four child are addicted to the Internet – an alarming statistic!

Are there different types of computer or internet addictions?

Internet or computer addictions manifest in several ways that cover various degrees and areas of internet usage. They can include the following:

  • information overload. Too much online surfing leads to decreased productivity at work and fewer interactions with family members.
  • compulsions. Excessive time spent in online activities such as gaming, trading of stocks, gambling and even auctions often leads to overspending and problems at work.
  • cybersex addiction. Too much surfing of porn sites often affects real-life relationships.
  • cyber-relationship addiction. Excessive use of social networking sites to create relationships rather than spending time with family or friends may destroy real-life relationships.

What causes an addiction to computers or the web?

Whenever internet addicts feel overwhelmed, stressed, depressed, lonely or anxious, they use the internet to seek solace and escape. Studies from the University of Iowa show that Internet addiction is quite common among males ages 20 to 30 years old who are suffering from depression.

Certain people are predisposed to having a computer or Internet addiction, such as those who suffer from anxiety and depression. Their lack of emotional support means they turn to the Internet to fill this need. There are also those who have a history of other types of addiction, such as addictions to alcohol, drugs, sex and gambling. Even being stressed and unhappy can contribute greatly to the development of a computer or Internet addiction. People who are overly shy and cannot easily relate to their peers are also at a higher risk of developing a computer or Internet addiction.

Short-term and long-term effects of an online addiction

The short-term effects of an online addiction include unfinished tasks, forgotten responsibilities and weight gain. Long-term effects are seen more in the physical symptoms such as backache, neck pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, and vision problems from staring at the screen. It can also lead to bankruptcy, especially if the time spent online is focused on shopping, gambling and gaming.

According to Oberlin College of Computer Science, aside from being dependent on the Internet, addicts may develop technostress wherein they internalize how a computer works, such as accelerated time and perfect results. It can also cause social withdrawal, feeling more at ease interacting with people online rather than in person.

Read the full article.

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!

Batman Maths
www.desmos.com/calculator/mfozq1hikr – If you can think back to your mathematics classes during your schooling days, you might remember something about having to create formulae to represent curves on your page. Well this site uses these formulae to create a series of curves and lines that combine to make some pretty neat pictures – like this one of Batman. Very nerdy, but very cool!

http://compfight.com – Sometimes you need a perfect image, and while there are plenty to be found online – you don't always have the right to use them. Compfight has a great Flickr-specific search that will find not only the right image, but one with a Creative Commons license so you can use it anywhere and with the right attribution. It'll also check stock image sites, if you've got a budget.

Haiku Deck
www.haikudeck.com/ – Got a big presentation to make? Haiku Deck allows you to create a quick and easy slide deck online (or via an iPad app). The goal is to make the presentation engaging, not an informational overload, and Haiku Deck has the goods to make it happen. It eschews all the tools that might lead you into the realm of overdone PowerPoint.
www.postable.com – Too lazy to buy a card, write on it, stamp it, and trudge to the post office? Of course you are. But Postable means you can mail personal greetings without that hassle. Fill in the card online and Postable takes care of printing and mailing. Cards are $2 each plus postage (46 cents). Perfect for get-wells, thank-yous, and, of course, the holidays.
What Was There
www.whatwasthere.com – Do you ever wonder when you look at a place, "what was there before?" This project hopes to show you exactly that. Enter in a location and, if available, you'll get to see photos of what stood there at certain points in history. You can even contribute if you've got old photos to show.
The Museum of Endangered Sounds
http://savethesounds.info – Remember the sound of Windows 95 starting? Ma Bell phones ringing? Tamagotchi? Those are just a few of the archived tech noises at Brendan Chilcutt's online museum. Click an image to get an aural trip to the past.
http://giphy.com/ – All the GIFs are at Giphy! Seriously, it seems like ALL of them. If it's animated and looping, it's probably archived here for you to view and share for your own use. Just look through the categories. The collection of facepalms alone could power social media replies for a year.
Zen Pencils
http://zenpencils.com/ – Gavin Aung Than regularly takes inspirational quotes and book passages and creates wholly original cartoons that use the copy as both inspiration and caption for what's happening. Just about every week you can find his work alongside the words of people like Albert Camus, Bill Watterson, Neil Gaiman, Charles Bukowski, Marianne Williamson, and many others.
www.factslides.com – Need some random information to win every pub quiz in town? FactSlides has slide after slide after slide of facts. "Deepest ever animal: Devil Worm living 2.2 miles below." "Charles Darwin ate every animal he discovered." "Official animal of Scotland is the Unicorn." Sound made up? They've got links to the source of each.
www.gizoogle.net – Ever wondered what the internet would sound like if it all had been written by Snoop Dogg? Gizoogle is a hilarious site that translates your favourite websites into Snoop Dogg speak – for shizzle. It was recently expanded to be able to translate your searches and even Twitter feeds too.

Cyberspace news snippets

What's been happening in the online world?

New Zealand

'Nosey parker' goes undercover for online cop-watch: The woman behind a popular Facebook page that shares information about police activity in Nelson says she's breaking the law to provide a public service. Click here for more.

Leaping Tiger app connects Kiwi gamers: A little Wellington-based startup Leaping Tiger, could - all things going according to plan - become the next big thing. Click here for more.

Drone wars take off in New Zealand video: It's the coolest sport you've never heard of, and now drone racing is exploding across New Zealand. Two leagues have kicked off since January, with the first national championship already underway, and a trans-Tasman battle planned for later in the year. Click here for more.

Duncan Garner: Digital devices have stolen my life (and wife): I start with a confession I'm as guilty as sin on this one. So is my wife. We have no defence. We are hopelessly captured by our smartphones and the internet. They are taking over our lives. Click here for more.

Kiwi app connects German smartphones to Kodak printing kiosks: Online security fears are prompting more smartphone owners to print out their photos, which is helping Auckland software developer MEA Mobile expand its business overseas. Click here for more.

Kiwis urged to tighten online security: Kiwis, and small business owners in particular, are being urged to think about what more they can do to secure their computers as an annual drive to raise awareness of cyber-security kicks off. Click here for more.

Kiwi kids compete with phones for parents' attention: More than 300 New Zealand children were surveyed about their parents' behaviour on mobile devices, in research conducted by online security company AVG Technologies. Click here for more.

Rural Waikato town turns up its internet speed: After an eight-month campaign Te Kowhai residents will soon have faster broadband internet with a 20-year-old communications switch replaced. Click here for more.


Disney exploring virtual reality for video games: Walt Disney Co's interactive unit is considering bringing Disney Infinity or other video games into the world of virtual reality. Click here for more.

Google to remove revenge-porn results from internet searches: Google will remove revenge-porn images and web links from search-engine results, seeking to curtail the public humiliation of people who have had their private pictures posted on the Internet. Click here for more.

Adobe gets creative in stock-image price wars: Adobe Systems is leveraging its popular Creative Cloud software suite for its new stock-image service, but will have to dig deeper to woo designers and take on established players such as Shutterstock and Getty Images. Click here for more.

Why your smartphone photos are blah: The photos we take of our friends and family and the places we visit are a collection of memories that we'll revisit again and again. Click here for more.

Dear Google, please fix your search engine: As the world's information moves from books and brains and onto the web, easily finding information is vital. Most people in New Zealand do this by using Google - it's used by 90 per cent of Kiwis compared to 65 per cent worldwide. Click here for more.

Amazon to pay authors by pages read on Kindle: If you are an author whose book fails to grip in the opening chapter, it could prove costly. Click here for more.

Google Play Music launches free service for US users: Google is adding a free tier to its subscription streaming music service in the US, aiming to convert the millions of people who click on the Google Play Music app every month but turn away because they're prompted for payment information. Click here for more.

Google protects Gmail users with Undo Send feature: Google is making it easier to steer clear of the trouble that can be caused by a misdirected or inappropriate email. Click here for more.

Google's Deep Mind artificial intelligence research could replace the IT helpdesk: A robot could answer your next call to tech support, thanks to new artificial intelligence research at Google. Click here for more.

Social Media

UK research into Facebook users shows we're all desperate, vain jerks: Why do some people update Facebook by writing about a party they went to last night, while others share a great article they found? Click here for more.

New software lets bosses vet your social media before hiring: Every tweet is doing you damage - possibly. By now, if you're on social media, you're at least latently aware that your activity can and will be monitored, searched and evaluated by current and potential employers. Click here for more.

The co-founder of SnapChat explains the service to oldies video: Are you confused about why younger generations are taking hundreds of photos a day of things you would never take pictures of? Click here for more.

What's trending on Instagram? New tool lets you see, but remember to check your privacy settings: Instagram hopes two new features will make its service a little easier to use: trending tags and the option to search for photos by location. Click here for more.

Facebook's virtual reality Oculus headset includes Touch capability gallery: Oculus Rift, the much-hyped virtual reality system in development by a unit of Facebook, is getting closer to making its real-world debut. Click here for more.

News providers under siege from smart devices, social media, ad-blockers: A surge in the use of smartphones as the leading device for accessing online news and the growing influence of social media could lead to an uncertain financial future for news organisations worldwide, a think tank has said. Click here for more.

Google's Nest Labs unveil HD security camera video: Google's Nest Labs rolled out an overhaul of its product line, including a new version of a home-security camera and smoke alarm, pushing the web company deeper into technologies for smart homes. Click here for more.

Teen dies after tracking stolen phone: A Canadian teenager was shot to death after tracking down his lost smartphone. Click here for more.

iPhone home button to be replaced with fingerprint scanning chip, report says: It's been the centrepiece for the iPhone's operating system since its 2007 debut, but Apple may be planning to drop the Home button from future models, according to a report. Click here for more.

Facebook plan for social media after death: In the wake of the digital age, one social media site is leading the way to ensure your online presence won't die when you do. Click here for more.

Apple vs. Android vs. Amazon vs. Microsoft

Taylor Swift's 1989 won't be streaming on Apple Music: Apple Music, which will launch at the end of June, will offer subscribers a large catalogue of songs for a subscription fee of $10 a month, but Swift's 1989, her fifth studio album, will not be offered on any streaming service, her label Big Machine Group said. Click here for more.

Taylor Swift forces Apple Music backdown on trial period royalties: Hours after the pop superstar criticised the giant tech company in an open letter posted online, Apple announced that it will pay royalties to artists and record labels for music played during a free, three-month trial of its new streaming music service, Apple Music. Click here for more.

Taylor Swift puts 1989 on Apple Music: It's official. Taylor Swift's album 1989 will be available on Apple's new music service, following the company's reversal of a controversial policy on royalties. Click here for more.

Following Taylor Swift-move, independent artists line up behind Apple Music: Several independent music label groups, including those representing Adele, Arcade Fire and Radiohead, say they can now support Apple Music after Apple reversed a decision not to pay royalties during the 90-day free trial period and adjusted other terms. Click here for more.

Copyright and piracy

Dallas Buyers Club wants alleged pirates' income details: The film company chasing almost 5000 Australians for allegedly pirating Dallas Buyers Club wants a judge to let it ask its targets for details of their annual income, as well as their history of torrenting files, when deciding the size of the financial penalty it will pursue. Click here for more.

Watershed moment for rights holders as Australia's anti-piracy, website-blocking bill passes: In the eyes of at least one intellectual property academic, the passing of controversial anti-piracy website-blocking legislation in the senate on Monday night represented "a very dark day for the internet in Australia". Click here for more.

Security and Privacy

Technology also crime-fighting tool for Stratford trucking business: While technology is helping a Stratford business work smarter, it has also helped them catch a couple of criminals too. Click here for more.

The US government vs Deep Panda: hunt for hackers closes in: Security researchers have many names for the hacking group that is one of the suspects for the cyberattack on the US government's Office of Personnel Management. Click here for more.

Wipe away your embarrassing internet history: Want to hide an unsavoury incident in your past? Bury some unpalatable mis-truth someone else has bandied about and has somehow taken hold? Or would you merely love the opportunity to re-invent yourself into something completely under your control? Click here for more.

Jeb Bush blames President Obama for personnel office hacking: American Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush blamed President Barack Obama for failing to heed warnings that could have prevented hackers from accessing personal information about millions of federal employees. Click here for more.

Don't post holiday snaps on social media, police warn: Insurance companies warn that under certain circumstances, posting about your holidays on social media could result in your claim being declined if you are burgled. Click here for more.

Can the US and China agree to a cyber code of conduct?: The United States has claimed progress with China on currency issues and toward negotiating a code of conduct for cyberspace after two days of high-level talks that underscored sharp differences but paved the way for a visit by China's leader in the fall. Click here for more.

In 1998, hackers warned that internet would become a security disaster video: This story is the second of a multi-part project on the internet's inherent vulnerabilities and why they may never be fixed. Click here for more.

The Weird, Wide Web

Meet the Romibo: A fuzzy robot friend to help improve autistic kids' social skills video: Robots aren't normally thought of as social butterflies. But a growing number of children are seeing their social skills soar with the help of Romibo - a small, fuzzy robot. Click here for more.

Ten years later, Gizoogle is still funny: The most chillaxed fo' realz website that translates what you write into gangsta slang has turned 10. Click here for more.

Google takes you vertical with Street View climb up Yosemite's El Capitan: First Google took you under the sea and gave you a 360-degree look at star gazing, now it is taking you up one of the world's steepest climbs. 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.

All right to complain on Facebook, union says: One of New Zealand's largest unions says the Employers and Manufacturers Association (EMA) is "scare-mongering" when it claims employees should face legal action for complaining about their jobs on Facebook. Click here for more.

What you can't sell on Trade Me: Just in case you're unsure, it's forbidden to sell human body parts on Trade Me. Click here for more.

Doodle 4 Google winner announced: The New Zealand public has chosen the winner of the Doodle 4 Google 'I love football' competition. Click here for more.

IRD plans to deal with taxpayers over internet: Taxpayers' business with the Inland Revenue Department will be mainly done online within two years. Click here for more.

Twittering public servants waste work of four: Public servants spend at least 8482 hours a year on Twitter, a Dominion Post investigation suggests the equivalent of a year's work for four full-time staff. 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 July!

Rob Zorn


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