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Actrix Online Informer – April 2016

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 April Actrix Online Informer

Welcome to the Actrix Online Informer for April 2016. This month we take a look at how you can protect your children from the dark side of the internet. These days it doesn't take much to go from safe places to the "no-so-safe". We talk about things you can do to educate your children about the dangers, and what they can do to keep themselves safe. We also look at a few software options that'll protect your kids from accidentally visiting places you wouldn't want them to go.

And finally, while it's not really related to the internet, we take a look at a few myths that might affect the way you're using your mobile phone.

YouTube feature

This month's YouTube feature may make you cringe if you are a drone owner. This is a two minute compilation clip showing some pretty hideous drone fails. I think it is safe to say that several drones were harmed in the making of this video. Perhaps these controllers need a few lessons, you think?

Keeping your children safe in the land of "dubdubdub"

It's common knowledge that the internet has a "dark side", full of questionable people, hate groups, pornography and misinformation. And unlike the poisonous and sharp things that you lock away in the kitchen and laundry, it can be hard to keep your children and the seedy side of the internet apart.

For example, in just a couple of clicks a Peter Rabbit fan's harmless Google search for "bunnies" can bring up inappropriate pictures of women wearing fuzzy white ears and not a whole lot else. And that's just a passive danger. There are sometimes also active dangers, such as scam artists and sexual predators who prowl the internet, seeking out younger people to take advantage of.

We live in a digital age, so to completely separate your children from the internet is going to be hard, if not almost impossible. So the best course of action is to educate your children so they know how to spot dangers, but are also kept from those dangers as much as possible.

So how do you keep your kids safe online?

Norton Security is one of the world's most commonly used security programs. Not only does it protect your computer from viruses, it can also prevent you from accessing dangerous websites, and protect the sensitive information on your computer. We went to Norton to find some advice, and found 10 tips for keeping your kids safe online.

  1. Use an Internet security suite, like Norton 360 or Norton Internet Security, on all computers you own. Using plain antivirus is just not enough protection. You need a full firewall, antispyware, and other protection a suite can provide. And of course there are plenty of good alternatives to Norton, such as McAfee.
  2. Keep your home network secured with a good password and security settings.
  3. Learn to avoid clicking links, responding to ads, and opening emails when they come from someone you don't know or who appears suspicious. Just take that extra moment to call your friend ("Did you post that link?"), type the URL for your bank, or otherwise display your worldly wisdom by not falling for these social engineering tricks.
  4. Use a good password (unique and complex) on all accounts and devices. The two most important account passwords are for your social network and your email account. If a hacker gets control of your social network, he can scam your friends. If he has control of your email, he can reset the password on all your other accounts by using the ubiquitous "forgot my password" link.
  5. Talk to your kids about avoiding cybercrime. They need to be just as cautious as you. It's also important that they know if they can talk to you when they make an online mistake, like falling for a scamware alert and downloading something dangerous to the computer. Many kids are savvy enough to realise when they've downloaded a virus, but few are comfortable admitting their mistake to their parents.
  6. Advise your kids never to share passwords, not even with a close friend. If they think they did, they should change the password.
  7. Teach your children to log out of computers when they finish their work, even at home. This will prevent a friend or sibling from posting or emailing using their account, even as a joke.
  8. Use the security and privacy settings on your social network and all accounts to limit who can access your posts.
  9. Learn about parental control settings for your phones, gaming devices, tablets, and all computers. A great tool is the free Norton Family for PCs and Macs.
  10. Talk to your kids regularly about how to use technology. Set rules and limits, and keep technology out in the open. Learn about "The Talk," and make it an annual discussion, or for whenever you introduce new technology into your family life.

Those last two points are probably the most important. Educating your children will help them make the correct decisions when presented with a dangerous situation online. They'll know what not to click, where not to go, and what not to share online. But, if they ever make the wrong decision in such a situation, having some security software to protect them as a fail safe is a very good idea.

Security software

The list from Norton above mentioned their free tool Norton Family for PCs and Macs, which is very useful. There's a free version, but that doesn't include all the features. The full version costs just $50 for a 12-month subscription, and has a heap of features that are useful, including:

  • the ability to view the websites your children visit, and the searches your children are doing in Google
  • Facebook monitoring to view how often they log in to Facebook
  • personal information protection, which prevents them from giving out information such as the school they go to, their home address etc.
  • time supervision, so you can monitor and limit how much time they spend on the computer, and when they can and can't access the internet
  • location supervision, so you can monitor where they are thanks to the GPS in the mobile phones
  • Access Request, which lets your children request an exception, or to have a specific website included in their safe searches.

And not only does it work on PCs and Macs, but it also covers smartphones and tablets for both Apple and Android.

If you feel like all these features are a little "overboard", and want a cheaper alternatives to Norton Family, there is a myriad of other options out there too. In our research we stumbled across a Top 10 Review of parental control programs (http://parental-software-review.toptenreviews.com/). This site had done all the work for you in identifying all the pros and cons for all the options.

You can overcharge your iPhone (and other myths)

There are some myths surrounding smartphones, the devices that rule the lives of many people. According to the Global Web Index 2015, 80 percent of internet users have a smartphone. Here's the truth behind five common smartphone myths.

Charging overnight will ruin your smartphone's battery

Your phone really is smart, and knows when it is fully charged and when to stop charging. Pretty much all modern devices have lithium ion batteries that have an in-built capability to cut off current when the battery is fully charged. There's a concern that non-stop charging will make the phone overheat but that won't happen.

Running your phone to flat before charging improves battery performance

This was a common belief before lithium ion batteries, which are now used in smartphones, were developed. The advice no longer applies and people can charge their phones whenever they like.

Closing down apps running in the background makes your iPhone run faster

The apps you see in your list of recent apps when you double-tap the home button aren't actually using processing power because they are consuming RAM. So, the game you closed recently is not actually running in the background when you're not using it. Some apps do run in the background with an update to iOS allowing a feature called "background app refresh" to check for updates in the background. To stop an app from running in the background disable background refresh in Settings.

A screen protector will protect your smartphone from scratches

Modern smartphones have advanced screen protection built in, making screen protectors largely unnecessary. Most smartphones you'll buy use Corning's Gorilla Glass. This is a toughened, hard glass with high scratch resistance. So, assuming you have a recent smartphone you don't need the extra screen protection a stick-on protector will provide.

Putting your phone in a microwave will charge it

As Cronulla Sharks NRL player Fa'amanu Brown discovered putting your smartphone in a microwave will only do one thing – destroy it. His phone was running flat and he thought he could charge the phone by putting it in the microwave. Instead the phone caught fire and had to be replaced. So that's one idea kicked into touch!

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!

Nomadic Matt
http://www.nomadicmatt.com/ – Essentially a travel blog but all the posts are so captivating, you can get lost in this website for hours. Nomadic Matt has been traveling the world since 2006 and created this website to help others travel more while spending less.

How Stuff Works
http://www.howstuffworks.com/ – A website crammed with pretty useless information but intriguing at the same time. Want to know if a whale has ever swallowed someone alive? Or, whether monkeys can drive robotic wheelchairs using thought control? Jump on over.

https://burner.bonanza.com/ – If you don't have Photoshop on your computer but sometime just need an image without the background, this is the website for you. The Background Burner quickly removes the background from any image or photo. Their patent-pending technology does all the work for you, automatically.

The Nostalgia Machine
http://thenostalgiamachine.com/ – Remember the hits of your youth? Do you recall the most popular song of 1986? Punch in a year and hit submit and be confronted by all the best songs of that year.

Documentary Addict
http://documentaryaddict.com/ – Some people opt for a rom-com or an action movie. Others are obsessed with watching documentaries on anything! If this is you, you will love this site.

http://www.buzzfeed.com/ – A website that everyone will like. Heaps of articles and information about all things current in the world at the moment. Want the latest Buzz? Jump on over to BuzzFeed.
http://icanhas.cheezburger.com/ – If you are an animal lover or find animals doing human-like things humorous, then you will like scrolling this website in your lunch break.
The Hustle
http://thehustle.co/ – The Hustle is an email newsletter for savvy forward thinkers interested in business, design, and tech. "We find, explore, and uncover original content on stories that inspire."
YouNeedABudget (YNAB)
http://www.youneedabudget.com/ – If you decided that 2016 was your year to solve your money dilemmas and keep a close budget to ensure financial success, then this is a site you need to visit. It's interactive and packed with information to help you save some pennies.
Right Car
http://rightcar.govt.nz/ – If you are in the market for a new car, check this page out. It will give you all the details on the safety features (or lack of!) for just about any given car.

Cyberspace news snippets

What's been happening in the online world?

New Zealand

People are more important than tech (really): OPINION: New Zealand has a plan to be smokefree by 2025, but my goal is to stop people checking their phones while talking to others.. Click here for more.

Do you find it hard to ignore your phone while driving?: That's just one of the questions in a new NZ Transport Agency poll of drivers' mobile habits. The poll comes a week after British Formula One star Lewis Hamilton was investigated by police for his apparent use of a cellphone while speeding down an Auckland motorway on a motorbike. Click here for more.

Kids online a challenge for parent: A man was taken to Dunedin Hospital after he became unwell during an international Skype call. Click here for more.

Online streaming not killing Christchurch video store: After the community pitched together to save Wellington's Aro Video, Christchurch's Alice in Videoland is doing better than ever, its owner says. Click here for more.

Tauranga takes broadband to the next level with $75 million UFB rollout: Tauranga is the fifteenth urban area where Ultra-Fast Broadband (UFB) has been finished, following the completion of the government's $75 million rollout. Click here for more.


15 Apps Everyone Should Have In the Phone: The app market is flooded with more than 2 million apps, and new ones debut all the time. We're all familiar with popular options like Facebook and Google Maps, and there are plenty of pointless apps too. What about little-known apps that provide real value, though? Click here for more.

Seven gadgets to smash your power bill: Many a frustrated parent has resorted to putting an egg-timer in the bathroom in an attempt to rein in their teenagers' long, luxurious showers. The draining of the hot water cylinder is particularly painful with winter approaching, and power bills on the rise. Click here for more.

The 10 Best iOS Apps For Getting Things Done: To help you get into the swing off things, we've rounded up the 10 best productivity apps for iOS. Click here for more.

11 Reasons to Create a Technology-Free Bedroom: Our world is changing rapidly. Often times, for the better. Advancing technology provides new opportunity for us to stay informed, connected, entertained, and engaged. Technology is becoming smaller, lighter, and more portable. Click here for more.

6 Ways to Break a Tech Addiction: Do you immediately check your phone when you're alone or have a free moment? Do you get distracted easily at work by the web? Perhaps you're that person with the wise idea to film a concert on your phone. Click here for more.

Technology's latest victim: car keys: Car keys might the next to go as technology pushes its way into our every day lives. As early as next year, car manufacturer Volvo is offering a smartphone app in place of physical car keys to lock and Click here for more.

New robot from Google shows off human-like qualities: Robot company Boston Dynamics has developed a new version of its humanoid robot, Atlas, which can walk in snow, pick up objects and stand up after a fall. Click here for more.

Volvo replaces car key with mobile phone: Swedish car maker Volvo has revealed a world first new mobile phone app that is set to do away with the need for a physical key. Click here for more.

Social Media

Facebook's new reactions also speak Pirate: Facebook launched its new-and-improved Like button, which lets users react with more than a simple thumbs up. They can now love something, or thinks it's worthy of a wow face, a sad face, an angry face, or a "haha" face. Did you also know is can speak pirate? Click here for more.

Advertisers Don't Like Facebook's Reactions. They Love Them: Instead of just "liking" a post, you can also now tell your friends, coworkers, and family how you really feel (assuming your feels are limited to "love," "haha," "wow," "sad," and "angry"). Advertisers LOVE it. Click here for more.

Parents clueless about teens and messaging apps (but advertisers aren't): Teenagers, a historically wily demographic, are increasingly moving their digital social lives from public sites where their parents hang out to smartphone messaging apps, giving them nearly complete privacy in their online social lives. Click here for more.

12 signs that you're addicted to social media: Emma Power, a 19-year-old from Sevenoaks, declares that she feels "panic-stricken and physically sick" if she does not post 20 'selfies' a day on Facebook. Click here for more.

Apple vs. Android vs. Amazon vs. Microsoft

Would I still buy an Apple Watch? On balance, yes : It's nearly a year since Apple Watch became available, and for much of that time I've been wearing one on my wrist. A smartwatch isn't an essential purchase like your phone: Apple Watch remains largely dependent on the iPhone you carry. Click here for more.

Apple outlines vision for enterprise, but Android dominates business smartphone landscape: Worldwide business smartphone shipments reached 116.8 million units in Q4 2015, an increase of 24.3 percent from the previous quarter, and 12.7 percent increase from Q3 2014. Click here for more.

Slow iPhone? Seven quick tricks to speed it up : With the latest iPhone set to be revealed at the end of March, your current iPhone is yet another generation out of date. Click here for more.

Why you shouldn't expect a long-lasting smartphone battery any time soon: It's happened to everyone who owns a powerful smartphone. You wake up in the morning, reach over to your nightstand to pick up your phone, only to realize you forgot to plug in the charging cable. Now, the battery indicator is blinking red. You might as well kiss your productivity on the commute to work goodbye Click here for more.

Closing background apps doesn't help save battery life confirm Apple and Android: YOU'RE out with friends, your smartphone battery is quickly diminishing and there isn't a charger in sight. The solution is closing all your apps to slow down the draining of your battery, right? Wrong. Click here for more.

Best phone battery life 2016 - top smartphones tested: Battery life is one of the most important things to consider when buying a new smartphone. With the vast majority of phones, you'll probably need to charge them every day, preferably at night just before you go to bed Click here for more.

Security and Privacy

5 things you need to know about SSL: An uptick in cyberattacks and greater awareness about government surveillance have prompted calls for tighter security on the Internet, and a big part of that is encrypting the traffic that flows to and from websites. Click here for more.

Two-thirds of emails contain security risk: Two-thirds of incoming emails contain content that could pose a security risk according to data collected by the government, Communications Minister Amy Adams says. Click here for more.

Juha Saarinen: What's your Internet banking username and password?: Payments. Everyone wants them to be quick and easy, but secure at the same time, especially for online transactions. Click here for more.

The Weird, Wide Web

These Travel Photos Are Dino-Mite : For extinct beasts, these dinosaurs sure get around. Then again, it helps to have Jorge Saenz as your tour guide. The Paraguay-based photographer is helping some toy terrestrials see South America as he documents their travels under the hashtag #dinodinaseries. Click here for more.

New Zealand could become first country to use Domino's pizza delivery : The Government is working with Domino's to test the company's autonomous pizza delivery unit, named DRU, which bears a striking resemblance to the robot EVE from Pixar's WALL-E. 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.

Google wants Kiwis, but in Sydney : Google says it plans to take on about 80 software developers from Australia and New Zealand this year, but any Kiwi candidates will need to be prepared to move to its nearest engineering centre in Sydney. Click here for more.

Web of opportunity: The internet is still an untapped resource for most Kiwi businesses but those that have taken the plunge are singing its praises. Click here for more.

Ultra Fast Broadband on hold?: InternetNZ CEO Vikram Kumar says its organisation has heard that the government may call a halt the Ultra Fast Broadband initiative following last week's earthquake in Christchurch. Click here for more.

NetHui to gather internet stakeholders: InternetNZ is hoping a three-day conference will attract representatives of various sectors that are "stakeholders" in the internet, to discuss a broad range of internet-associated topics. Click here for more.

Google searches are R18: Technically, New Zealanders under 18 are not allowed to use Google's search engine and its internet services. 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 April!

Rob Zorn


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