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Actrix Online Informer – August 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.

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Welcome to the August Actrix Online Informer

Welcome to the Actrix Online Informer for August 2016. This month we look at some of the unusual things you can do with Google. Our second feature article is a list of helpful tips for staying safe while out playing Pokemon Go. There has been a lot of media attention recently about people being being seriously injured while playing the popular game, so always remember to stay safe!

YouTube feature

In this month's YouTube feature we meet Daan Roosegaarde, a Dutch designer who with his team of experts has created the world's largest smog vacuum cleaner. The Smog Free Tower uses patented ion technology to produce smog-free bubbles of public space, allowing people to breathe and experience clean air for free.

Messing with Google: 10 tricks you can play with everyone's favourite search engine

We all appreciate a little joke here and there, and it seems that the Google team are no different from your average office prankster! The team at Google have taken a little extra time to bring an element of humour to the table, turning the world's most popular and highly efficient search engine into a virtual Easter egg hunt. You can find these hidden Easter eggs by trying any of the following tricks:

Barrel roll

This one is probably the oldest and most popular of the Google search engine Easter eggs. In your search bar, simply type "do a barrel roll" and hit enter to see Google set on spin cycle! Typing "z or r twice" will have the same effect; these are both references to a game called Star Fox. The Google team must be big fans!


All you have to do for this one is type "askew" into the Google search bar and your results will be displayed at an angle that will deeply alarm your OCD friends.

Retro Google

Everyone loves a good ol' slice of retro pie once in a while. Travel back in time with Google by typing "Google in 1998" to view your browser from back in the day. While the colours might be similar, the overall design will surprise you when you see how far Google has come when compared to its contemporary layout.

Google image breakout

Time for a little minigame egg: in the Google Image search, type "atari breakout" to begin playing a brick breaking game with the image results. Just how much time do the Google team have on their hands?

Flip a coin

Don't you hate it when you're asked to flip a coin and your wallet is all cards and no tangible money? Eliminate this awkward circumstance with your pocket-buddy, Google. Google's got your back with a simple "flip a coin" search, which will turn up a virtual coin ready to spin heads or tails.

Roll a die

As with the coin flipping trick, typing "roll a die" will result in Google's handy way of offering you a virtual, rollable dice. This certainly beats carrying dice around everywhere you go...

The Hunger Games

This one is for all those competitive types who might enjoy making a game out of their nutrition facts. The concept is simple: food vs food. Type any edible item vs another edible item (for example, "apples vs oranges") and have your nutrition results displayed in a card-like spec list. The question is...who will win?

Laugh long and prosper

Google loves to incorporate fun languages beyond those spoken by your average humans… You have a range of funny alternative languages to choose from, including 'pirate Google', 'Elmer Fudd Google', 'hacker Google' and (best of all) 'Klingon Google'. This one isn't a searchable one. To achieve this Easter egg, simply add '?hl=xx-' and then the name of your chosen language to the end of your Google homepage URL, hit enter, and let the fun begin!

Pacman Google

Back in 2010, Google celebrated the 30th anniversary of Pacman by turning its homepage title into a playable game of Pacman! People loved it so much that Google decided to keep it, like a cute, playable puppy. Type 'Google Pacman' and let the games begin!

6 Pokémon Go safety tips for kids (and kids at heart)

Adults, teenagers, and kids alike are going nuts over the Pokémon Go App, but there have been some safety glitches that the developers of the game, Niantic, Inc., probably should have anticipated. Players are getting robbed, seriously injuring themselves, and even being fatally shot for trespassing on private property, all because they "gotta catch them all."

For concerned parents, the viral game is especially stressful—while the app is effective at getting kids off the couch and outside, it's also become a huge safety hazard. Here are 6 essential tips to keep kids (and kids at heart) safe while hunting Pikachu.

1. Scope Out Poke Stop's or Gym's Before You Go

While all Poke Stops and Gyms are located in public places, it's still a good idea to do some research on the area you'll be visiting before you make your way. Some are bound to be safer than others, and by doing a simple Google search, you could avoid ending up in an unsafe area. This is especially important if you are playing Pokémon Go when traveling, where you don't have as good of a read on the neighborhood.

2. Parents Should Accompany Children, When Possible

Your child might not be too enthusiastic about being escorted, but it's best if parents accompany their younger children the first time they visit a Poke Stop or Gym to make sure it's a safe environment. For older kids, set up a pre-determined check-in time so you know they arrived safely and are enjoying themselves in a secure location.

3. Players Should Remain Aware of Their Surroundings

It's easy to get distracted while playing Pokémon Go, so make sure you check in with your surroundings regularly and stay aware of where you are in the real world. While bumping into a tree or stepping in a puddle might be harmless, the game has been known to have glitches that accidentally place Pokémon in the middle of streets and other dangerous locations. A player even recently stumbled upon a dead body while engrossed in the game.

Also remain aware of those around you. Many of the people you encounter will also be playing Pokémon Go, which can be a fun way to meet new friends! However, there are still people out there who want to harm or scare you, so don't get so distracted by catching Pokémon that you don't notice telltale signs that someone nearby is looking for trouble.

4. Be Respectful of Private Property

If you see a Pokémon in someone's yard or private area, DO NOT seek it out without permission, no matter how rare it might be! Trespassing on private property is against the law, and there has already been one extremely sad case of a teenage boy being shot and killed while attempting to catch Pokémon on private property in North Carolina.

5. If You're Going Out at Night, Be Extremely Careful

Avoid going to your favorite Poke Stop or Gym after dark—even if it is safe during the day, robbers or other criminals might be present at night. Armed robberies have recently been reported in Missouri, Maryland, and California, and the trend is unlikely to stop until players wise up and stop putting themselves in compromising positions.

If the temptation to seek Pokémon at night is too strong to resist, try to adventure with a group of players instead of going by yourself or, at the very least, let a friend or relative know where you are going and when you plan to return.

6. Parents Should Download the App

Even if games are not your favorite past-time, it's worthwhile to download the Pokémon Go App for a day to familiarize yourself. By studying the structure of the game and how it is played, you'll be better prepared for the potential safety risks players might encounter. Who just might enjoy it and want to keep playing!

While Pokémon Go is obviously a huge hit across all age groups, it carries with it a very particular set of safety risks. If players are smart, stay aware of their surroundings, and avoid getting into risky situations, there's no reason why this creative game can't be just as safe as it is fun.

This article was orignally published by Huffington Post.

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!

A Good Movie To Watch – If you've ever found yourself spending a feature-length of time picking a movie then this website is definitely for you. All it needs to know is your mood, then it offers a wide selection of film suggestions you can narrow as you like.

Forgotify – Forgotify is embarking on a noble mission to stream all those forgotten songs that are currently uploaded on Spotify, but no one has ever listened to before! Check it out – you might just find your next favorite band!

Manualslib – This is for anyone who's ever lost the instructions for their desk, bookcases and drawers during a move. Manuals are readily available and in easily accessible PDFs.

Investopedia – Learn about the magical, sometimes complex world of smart finance, from basic terminology and jargon to in-depth analysis of various areas of investing.

Good Is (Infographics) – A collection of beautifully rendered infographics which display useful information in an easy-to-absorb visual format.

What the Font – If you've ever seen a font featured in a picture that you absolutely must have, this website will detect your mystery font for you via image upload.
Account Killer – This website is a life saver, showing you how exactly to close any social media account for good (without just disabling them).
Skyscanner – Search flights according to your prefered price, budget and date and see which airline has the trip to suit you!
Should I Remove It? – Super convenient, this website will locate and remove unwanted 'bloatware' from your poor, labouring PC.
DuckDuckGo – A search engine that doesn't follow you, doesn't want to keep your passwords, and is generally polite and rather user friendly.

Cyberspace news snippets

What's been happening in the online world?

New Zealand

Internet outage in parts of Christchurch:Internet services have been restored for the hundreds of residents who suffered outages in the Christchurch suburbs of Papanui and Strowan since Monday afternoon. Click here for more.

Vodafone internet fixed but question remains of slow customer communication : Vodafone has fixed its internet issues but frustrations and questions over slow communication to customers remain. Click here for more.

A new Wellington tech camp is teaching kids the power and possibilities of code: If learning code is crucial for kids then Wellington High School student Rose Taylor, who spent her fifteenth birthday at coding camp, will be well placed to handle it. Click here for more.

Elderly flock to cellphone tutorials in bid to come to grips with 'terrifying' technology : Havelock North student and part-time library worker Morgan Watkins gives a 'cellphone tutorial' to 82-year-old Margaret Merry, who finds her cellphone a terrifying gadget. Click here for more.

Elderly flock to cellphone tutorials in bid to come to grips with 'terrifying' technology : Havelock North student and part-time library worker Morgan Watkins gives a 'cellphone tutorial' to 82-year-old Margaret Merry, who finds her cellphone a terrifying gadget. Click here for more.


Google website and smartphone apps put the world's top art museums in your pocket : If you love art and have not yet discovered Google's new Arts & Culture website and phone apps, you are just not living and breathing art as it can be conceived by the world's top information scientists using the latest and greatest in technology. Click here for more.

How to turn your TV into a computer: It is a full PC crammed into an enlarged USB memory stick. it plugs into a spare HDMI socket on the back of a TV (or computer screen) and delivers full PC functionality. Click here for more.

The internet is stealing television's primetime slot: Watching the latest hit show is still a ritual in many Kiwi homes, but the internet is now chipping away at that and other television traditions. Click here for more.

Social Media

Mum blogger Jess Bovey abused online - like most women: Wellington-based blogger Jess Bovey with 11-month-old son Baxter. Her blog, New Mum Club, has exposed her to online abuse. "They do hurt. It is upsetting," she says of some of the comments she receives. Click here for more.

What it takes to get banned from Twitter: On Tuesday night, Twitter permanently banned the conservative writer Milo Yiannopoulos as it cracked down on a wave of racist abuse targeting the Ghostbusters actor Leslie Jones. Click here for more.

What you post on Instagram reveals how old you are: If you post about your location or nature then you're considered "Instagram-old". Click here for more.

Facebook's solar-powered internet drone takes flight: Facebook says it has completed a successful test flight of a solar-powered drone that it hopes will help it extend internet connectivity to every corner of the planet. Click here for more.

Tinder Social arrives in NZ aiming to get groups together: Tinder launched a new feature this weekend, Tinder Social. But what exactly is "Tinder for groups" all about? Click here for more.

Vine's top stars are fleeing, despite the app's best attempts to keep them: These are dark days for Vine, previously one of Twitter's more successful experiments. Click here for more.

Apple vs. Android vs. Amazon vs. Microsoft

Microsoft readies Windows 10 update: The first-year anniversary of the Windows 10 launch is still about a month away but the next major iteration of the company's operating system is coming soon. Click here for more.

Apple, Google, Facebook, Amazon, Microsoft won't be biggest in 20 years: Top VC: America's most valuable technology firms such as Microsoft and Google are unlikely to maintain their leading positions in the next 20 years, a top Silicon Valley venture capitalist and former Apple executive has warned. Click here for more.

Privacy / Security

The dangers lurking in public Wi-Fi: Free Wi-Fi is no different to a filthy public toilet, water fountain or payphone. That's according to antivirus firm Norton, which has released a new app designed to stop hackers from stealing users' private information over unsecured Wi-Fi. Click here for more.

Privacy watchdog moves on Pokemon Go: The popularity of Pokemon Go has raised security concerns after the app accessed users' personal information, prompting the Australian privacy commissioner to intervene. Click here for more.

Basic security mistake led to the Houston Astros hack that shook baseball : Former St. Louis Cardinals executive Christopher Correa was sentenced to 46 months in prison this week for violating federal hacking laws as part of a cyberespionage campaign that shook the world of baseball last summer. Click here for more.

The Weird, Wide Web

SPACE RACE 2.0 China to build secret 'orbital internet' using experimental satellite network: China is preparing to begin building a super-secure version of the internet that's broadcast from up in SPACE. Click here for more.

This is why I'm still wary of the Internet of Things: The idea of a connected home, which lets me control every lightbulb, appliance and service running in my house from virtually anywhere, is certainly intriguing. But years after we first began hearing about the Internet of Things and saw loads of products arrive in stores, the concept is still fraught with problems. 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.

Kiwi kids flock to Facebook: Two-thirds of New Zealand children aged six to nine are using social networking sites for kids, according to a survey. Click here for more.

'Tupac alive in NZ' – hackers hoax US website: PBS officials say hackers have cracked the network's website, posting a phony story claiming dead rapper Tupac Shakur was alive in New Zealand, and a group that claimed responsibility for the hacking complained about a recent "Frontline" investigative news programme on WikiLeaks. Click here for more.

Darby in anti-piracy ad backlash: Rhys Darby has posted a statement saying he does not support the government's controversial copyright law change. Click here for more.

Editorial: New copyright law deserves to get a fair go: It is understandable that the Commerce Minister responded somewhat tartly to United Nations criticism of internet copyright legislation that will take effect in September. Click here for more.

Govt refuses to budge on internet law: The Government says it will not alter its internet copyright legislation, despite UN criticism that such laws are an attack on human rights. 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 August!

Rob Zorn 


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