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Actrix Online Informer – September 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
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Actrix – best little ISP in New Zealand

Welcome to the September Actrix Online Informer

Welcome to the Actrix Online Informer for September 2015. This month we take a good look at Windows 10 and offer some tips and advice on whether upgrading your operating system to Windows 10 is going to be a good idea. One the one had, it's free! But on the other it's likely there'll be a few issues that still need ironing out, and your old software might not work so well if you upgrade and this could affect how you access the Interenet.

We also take a look at some of the hidden features you might not have known about on Facebook.

YouTube feature

This month's YouTube feature is proof that sibling rivalry never really goes away. These two old women are sisters, one's 101 years old, and the other is 96. The way they talk to each other, and the names they call each other behind their backs, proves there's hope yet for the rest of us.

Should I upgrade to Windows 10?

We had a reader write in to us this month asking us for our thoughts on Windows 10. Windows 10 is the latest operating system from Microsoft, and was launched in July this year.

Microsoft is currently offering it as a free upgrade, largely because their Windows 8 operating system has really rubbed a lot od people up the wrong way (because it is such a departure from earlier version. So many people have found themselves wondering if they should upgrade. The free upgrade is available for 12 months, so our first bit of advise is there's no need to rush the decision yet.

Recent news reports state that more than 75 million devices around the world are now running Windows 10, but a quick Google search on how people are finding it gives some conflicting results. For many, the upgrade is welcome, considering their loathing of Windows 8. But others appear to find the new operating system confusing and unnecessarily cluttered.

Windows 10 has arrived for consumers, but should you install Windows 10? We explain who should upgrade to the new version of the OS, plus discuss a few things to consider if you're using older hardware and software.

If I upgrade to Windows 10, can I downgrade again?

With Windows 10 it's very easy to downgrade back to your previous operating system.

Microsoft has built in a simple process that only requires a few clicks to have the system roll back to your previous version of Windows (so long as you haven't deleted the windows.old folder in which the previous version lives). You can read a guide to downgrading Windows 10 here.

Of course, as with any operating system installation, you'll want to make a full backup of your data before you begin either the upgrade or the downgrade.

It's free!

The biggest decision taken by Microsoft with Windows 10 was to offer the OS as a free upgrade to current users of Windows 7 and 8.1. In fact there's a good chance that your PC is already displaying a new icon in the system tray, prompting you to reserve your copy of Windows 10. There's no harm in reserving your copy. It will download in the background, but not install itself until you choose to do so.

There has been a little confusion over exactly who can upgrade, but this has been clarified now by Microsoft and boils down to you having an activated and genuine copy of Windows 7 (SP1) or 8.1 installed on your PC. Those with older versions of 7 or 8 should use the Windows Update feature to bring their systems up to a qualifying version.

For XP or Vista users Windows 10 will be a paid upgrade. You can find out if your machine qualifies for a free copy here.

Handy new features

A great addition in Windows 10 is that of Virtual Desktops. With this neat feature you can use the Task View mode to easily create multiple workspaces on your PC and switch between them as if they were on different screens. You can also arrange windows on your desktop using the Snap Assist feature, so that they take up one half of the screen or even split into four quarters of the desktop.

What if you have old software and hardware?

One possible concern for those moving up to Windows 10, especially from older versions of Windows, is whether their important applications will work on the new OS. For major software releases this will almost certainly be a smooth upgrade, but if you have less commonly used programs installed, it may be worth checking with the software provider.

You don't want to upgrade and suddenly find you can't do your normal work on your PC. The same holds true for peripherals such as older printers and scanners, which may require the downloading of new drivers to ensure they work properly on the new platform.

Maybe until the bugs are ironed out

While it's looking like Windows 10 is a big improvement to Windows 8, it might still contain a few bugs and glitches that will need to be ironed out.

The version that was recently released to the public will have been extensively tested and should be rock solid, but inevitably there will be a few niggles that slip through the net. If this makes you in any way uneasy, we'd recommend that you wait a few weeks, maybe even a couple of months, if you're going to install it on your primary machine.

This gives kamikaze users the chance to experience any major errors, and Microsoft the time to fix them.

Stuff you didn't know you could do on Facebook

Did you know you can add a pronunciation guide to your name on Facebook? Overlay colourful text on the photos you post? How about mark the end of a relationship without your 500 closest friends getting notified?

Many of these tips and tricks aren't well known, even to veterans of this 1.5 billion-strong people-connector and time-waster. Facebook is constantly updating its service, adding new features or tweaking old ones. A lot can slip through the cracks even if you are scrolling through your friends' updates several times a day.

Here are a few ways to enhance your Facebook experience.


Anyone who's commented on a popular Facebook post, or belongs to a particularly chatty group, knows that those notifications telling you that "Jane Doe and four others also commented on a post" can get a bit annoying. You can turn off notifications for individual posts by clicking on the globe icon on the top right corner of your web browser, then on the "X" next to the individual notification.

You can also change your notification settings here to get fewer or more of them for each group that you belong to.

To do this on mobile, click to view the original post, then click the down arrow in the top right corner of the post. You'll see an option to "turn off notifications."

Keep it on the down-low

Announcing engagements and marriages on Facebook is fun. Post and watch the likes and congrats roll in. Bask in the love and glory. Fast-forward a few years for some couples, and the glory fades, not to mention the love and marriage. In this case, you might not want to announce the irreversible breakdown to 450 of your closest friends.

Thankfully, you can still mark the end of a relationship without notifying everyone. Go to your profile and click on the "about" section, then "family and relationships on the left." Under relationship, you'll see a grey icon that probably says "friends," or maybe "public." Change it to "only me." Then change your relationship status.

After a while, you can change it back if you wish. Your hundreds of acquaintances will be none the wiser, unless they are stalking your profile to see if you are single.

Picture perfect

Thanks to a popular but little-known new feature, Facebook lets you spruce up the photos you post by adding text and quirky stickers, such as drawings of scuba gear, sunglasses or a corn dog. This tool is available on iPhones and is coming soon to Android devices.

To use it, choose a photo to upload and click the magic wand icon. Here, you'll find text overlay options as well as the same stickers you can use in other parts of Facebook.

Security check

Another recent addition to Facebook's trove of tools is a "security checkup" that guides users through a checklist aimed at making their account more secure. This includes logging out of Facebook on web browsers and apps they are not using, and receiving alerts when someone tries to log in to their account from an unfamiliar device or browser.

To use it, go to on your computer – this feature is not yet available on the mobile app.

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!

NowThis News – News videos in 6-, 15-, and 30-second snippets? Sounds custom-built for the Internet. This site posts as many as 50 video updates a day with photogenic hosts, quick cuts, and just enough headline information to get you quickly, if not thoroughly, informed.

CareerSonar – Earlier this year there were 16 million jobs posted online, yet even with so many unemployed it's sometimes hard to find people to fill them. The best way, according to CareerSonar, is via referral. This site is all about that, using a patent-pending ranking to help job seekers find the right position and then leveraging social media connections to land it.

Not Always Right – The saying goes, "the customer is always right," which is obviously not true, as anyone who's ever worked retail (or watched anyone else go shopping) will tell you. This site is filled with the best anecdotes of those on the shopping front lines. Prepare to be shocked (or maybe not) by the craven acts and utter stupidity of your fellow human. And check out the sister sites about family, romance, school, and the workplace.
Frequency – Social networks excel at sharing video media. Frequency provides a place to link all your social accounts and turn them into video channels, so you never miss what friends post or what's offered by favourite media outlets like NBC, BBC, and The Onion.
Stockr – Graft your Facebook account to Stockr and the site will go out and check to see what stocks your friends are investing in. You don't have to stop there, Stockr has its own featured members you can also follow who purportedly know their way around Wall Street, plus you can set up a ticker of all the companies you want to follow.
Google Drive – Ditch the desktop-based apps and embrace the cloud with Google Drive. It brings a full-featured office suite experience to your browser and, more importantly, allows for multi-user collaboration. Files automatically save, with easy access to previous versions, and since they exist online, they are reachable from any browser. You can sync files to your desktop as well.
ifttt – The structure is simple: "if this, then that." Meaning, "if this certain thing happens, then make this other thing happen." It could be as simple as saying, "If I'm tagged on Facebook, then send me an SMS message." It can tie into social networks, email, phone, weather reports, to-do lists, instant messages, Internet radio, RSS feeds—there are 77 channels to choose from. The "recipe" possibilities you can create are almost endless.
PicMonkey – PicMonkey lets you edit a photo without even registering. Use basic tools (crop, rotate, exposure, colours, sharpen, resize), apply effects, touch up images, add text, frames, and other overlays, and more. Then you can save your image and share it to social networks.
Instructables – When you need step-by-step instructions for just about anything, visit Instructables. It's the ultimate DIY site for everything from cooking to building rockets, complete with images, diagrams, and even videos. The content is user-generated, so you can post your own Instructable on whatever it is you make best.
Letters of Note – If you still believe in taking the time to write a real letter to people who matter and take great pleasure in receiving one in kind, Letters of Note will hold powerful appeal. The site scans and posts letters from celebrities, which range from the mundane to the outright hilarious. Each scanned missive comes with a transcript, in case the handwriting is hard to read. It's a wonderful reminder of the power of the written word.

Cyberspace news snippets

What's been happening in the online world?

New Zealand

Hotel wi-fi in NZ is embarrassingly bad: When staying at a hotel would you rather have Sky TV or free wi-fi? What about a bath big enough for three or free wi-fi? Click here for more.

What Kiwis are searching on Google, and when: While people obsess over social media profiles, they often forget about the much more personal data they're leaking all over the internet. Click here for more.

Hastings-based drone company Altus UAS gets foothold in the US: A tale of Kiwi ingenuity taking on the world has come true for five blokes headquartered in a shed just outside Hastings. Click here for more.

Sunday TV ad-ban could be removed amid media review: The Government is considering scrapping the Sunday morning and public holiday bans on television and radio advertising. Click here for more.

Meet the Segway's cool cousin; Glideboards arrive in New Zealand gracefully: Glideboards have been made popular overseas by the likes of Chris Brown, Cara Delevingne and Justin Bieber. Click here for more.

Kiwi video games industry sees 30 per cent increase in jobs: The New Zealand games industry workforce has grew by 30 per cent in the last financial year, according to the latest figures from the NZ Game Developers Association (NZGDA). Click here for more.

More Kiwi icons added to Grand Theft Auto mod, but the Mongrel Mob is out gallery: One man's attempt to bring a bit of Kiwiana to the new Grand Theft Auto video game is again catching five stars worth of attention online. Click here for more.

Latest All Blacks Rugby Challenge game to adapt Sevens competition: The next All Blacks Rugby Challenge game has been announced for a 2015 release, and will include the first-ever videogame adaptation of the Rugby Sevens. Click here for more.


California teenager charged with 'revenge porn' against girls: A US teenager has been accused of posing as a modelling agent to dupe and extort underage girls into sending him naked pictures. Click here for more.

With Kickstarter, buying is emotional: Buying something is usually a detached process involving handing over money and walking away with a product. Click here for more.

Tech startups want to change the way you drive: A veteran computer scientist hates sitting in his car at stop lights, so he creates software that makes the experience less annoying. Click here for more.

The end of endless emails is a long way off: If seeing an inbox full of hundreds of emails fills you with dread, get used to it, because they are here to stay and will remain a constant in the workplace, according to a survey released on Wednesday. Click here for more.

Social Media

Facebook may have dodged Snapchat bullet as leak reveals failing financials: People are all abuzz about Snapchat's financials, which were leaked online this week. If you haven't seen them, the outlook isn't good: Snapchat lost US$128 million (NZ$193.5 million) during the first 11 months of 2014. Click here for more.

Facebook co-founder Dustin Moskovitz: tech companies destroying employees' lives: The tech industry threatens to cannibalise itself, forcing its talented and young workforce to pursue work over life with the inevitable end result being compromised results and miserable employees. Click here for more.

Facebook Messenger could be the future of money, if it learns to ignore America: Facebook has rolled out a product in the United States that allows users to transfer money to each other via Facebook message. Click here for more.

Why you should think twice before putting your mobile phone number on Facebook: Facebook has been urged to strengthen its privacy controls after revelations a simple vulnerability could expose the personal data of users, including their mobile numbers. Click here for more.

Facebook launches new celebrity video feature, private business messaging: Facebook is launching a live video feature, Facebook Mentions, but only for high-profile celebrities and public figures. Click here for more.

Who's the biggest liar on social media - him or her?: A study of deceitful behaviour on the internet has made what some might consider a surprising finding - women lie almost twice as much as men in social media posts. Click here for more.

Facebook makes its diversity training public to teach others: As Silicon Valley's biggest companies continue to reveal some fairly embarrassing truths about their workplace diversity - or rather, their lack thereof - Facebook last week pulled back the curtain on what it's doing about them: It made its retooled internal diversity training public. Click here for more.

Chris Pratt's epic Facebook photoshop contest: The star of some of the planet's biggest blockbusters asked his fans to come up with a new Facebook wallpaper for him and the results were insane. Click here for more.

Facebook's airforce: Giant solar-powered Aquila drone to bring internet to rural areas video: Facebook says it will begin test flights later this year for a solar-powered drone with a wingspan as big as a Boeing 737, in the next stage of its campaign to deliver internet connectivity to remote parts of the world. Click here for more.

Facebook to scale up free mobile internet service: Facebook plans to scale up its service to offer free basic internet on mobile phones, an executive said, after introducing the application in 17 developing countries over the past year. Click here for more.

Apple vs. Android vs. Amazon vs. Microsoft

Microsoft files antitrust suit against InterDigital in patent feud: InterDigital has violated US antitrust law by failing to keep its promise to fairly license its technology considered essential to mobile phone communications, Microsoft claims in a new lawsuit. Click here for more.

Amazon now offering alcohol deliveries in the US: Amazon is to start delivering beer, wine and spirits to US customers for the first time as part of its speedy delivery service, Prime Now. Click here for more.

Samsung joins the Artificial Intelligence startup race: Samsung and Wipro Ltd's venture arms have made strategic investments into an artificial intelligence startup named Vicarious, as established companies seek to add machine-learning technology to their products. Click here for more.

Amazon far from over innovating, founder Jeff Bezos says: How do you suppose Jeff Bezos, a man worth roughly US$48 billion (NZ$73.2 billion), spends his weekends? Click here for more.

Apple Watch: a really fun toy, fitness tracker and fashion item, but no smartphone replacement - yet: If I look at my Apple Watch for longer than five seconds I get annoyed with it. An app won't load. Siri will have no idea what I just said. Click here for more.

Security and Privacy

Ashley Madison Impact Team hackers break silence: Hackers who stole a trove of sensitive data from said "nobody was watching" as they scoured the infidelity website. Click here for more.

No way to stop Ashley Madison leak, says NZ privacy commissioner: Click here for more.

Kiwi email addresses exposed by hackers' Ashley Madison data dump: Dozens of New Zealand government email addresses have been released as part of a massive dump of user details from cheating spouses website Click here for more.

What you need to know about the Ashley Madison hack: Online "cheating" website Ashley Madison is making headlines this month after hackers posted details of millions of its users online. The massive privacy breach has raised some unique ethical questions. Click here for more.

Ashley Madison's founder has emails leaked in second dump of data: The second release by hackers of data from infidelity website Ashley Madison is authentic and included the source code for the website, internal emails and a message to the company's founder Noel Biderman, a cyber expert who has downloaded the data says. Click here for more.

Garner: The important lesson Ashley Madison leaks taught us: Oh what a tangled worldwide web some people weave when they're planning to deceive. Click here for more.

Ashley Madison hackers vow more attacks: The hacking group behind the Ashley Madison breach has compared the affair-seeking website to a drug dealer abusing addicts and is threatening to carry out more attacks. Click here for more.

Another reminder deleted online information never actually goes away: The Ashley Madison hack is a big reminder to all Web users: If you submit private data online, chances are it will never fully be deleted. Click here for more.

US Ashley Madison users sue cheating website over breach: Eight people across the US who registered to use Ashley Madison are suing the website for cheaters after hackers released personal and detailed information of millions of users, including financial data and sexual proclivities. Click here for more.

Jeep hacker Charlie Miller leaves Twitter: The security researcher who hacked into a moving Jeep earlier this year has resigned as an engineer at Twitter after three years on the job, a person familiar with the matter said. Click here for more.

Duncan Garner says Ashley Madison account is fake, but he was signed up to Tinder: Duncan Garner has "no idea" how he was signed up for Ashley Madison, but he was signed up to dating app Tinder for research. Click here for more.

Ashley Madison faked female profiles to lure men in, hacked data suggests: Ashley Madison has long claimed, in triumphant news releases and slick, Web-ready graphics, that it is one of the few dating sites that really clicks with women. Click here for more.

The Weird, Wide Web

Friends-era Jennifer Aniston in hilariously outdated Windows 95 promo video : One of the weirdest mash-ups of popular culture and tech happened 20 years ago to celebrate the launch of Windows 95. Click here for more.

A meal and a webcam form unlikely recipe for South Korean fame: Every evening, 14-year-old Kim Sung-jin orders fried chicken, delivery pizza or Chinese food to eat in a small room in his family's home south of Seoul. He gorges on food as he chats before a live camera with hundreds, sometimes thousands, of teenagers watching. Click here for more.

Woman disabled by 'gadget allergy': A French court has awarded a disability grant to a woman claiming to suffer from a debilitating allergy to electromagnetic radiation from everyday gadgets such as mobile phones. 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.

Scorned lover vents hate online: A scorned lover using Facebook to impersonate her ex-partner is ruining the man's life, his family say. Click here for more.

Facebook 'friend' steals TV contestant's identity: A person Amelia Gough trusted as a Facebook friend ended up stealing her photos and using them to create fake MySpace and Twitter pages in her name. Click here for more.

'Brutal attack' overkill for Facebook rumours : A Hamilton woman angered by comments made by a former friend on social networking website Facebook responded by smashing the woman's computer and pulling out a clump of her hair. Click here for more.

Life unplugged: Many Kiwis refuse to join social networking sites like Facebook. But as the online community grows, it's becoming even tougher to stay away. Jehan Casinader confronts his social networking nightmare and meets others who are doing the same. Click here for more.

Lush asks for help outing his imposter: Broadcaster Marcus Lush has become the latest celebrity to fall victim to a Facebook faker. The RadioLive morning show host asked his fans for help to track the imposter down. He wrote on Twitter: "I need help getting rid of a Facebook imposter, any ideas?" 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 September!

Rob Zorn 


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