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Actrix Online Informer – January 2017

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 January Actrix Online Informer

Welcome to the Actrix Online Informer for January 2017, and thank you for your loyal support throughout the year. We hope you had a merry holiday season with friends and family, and a wonderful 2016!

Going on a road trip these holidays? This month we take a quick look at how you can set up wifi in the car, which will keep everyone happy, and hopefully prevent the kids asking "are we there yet?"!

We also feature an article about ORAK, a cool new device developed by a local Wellington company that lets you monitor and allocate internet access in your house. With the kids at home more during the school holidays, this could certainly come in handy!


YouTube feature – Miniature Wellington

A day in "The coolest little capital in the world" with emphasis on the 'little'. Wellington photographer Jared Gray captures timelapse footage of Wellington using a 'tilt shift' effect to make the city appear in miniature.

Tilt shift blurs the edges of your image and leaves the centre in focus, which tricks our eyes into seeing the area in focus as tiny. It's a very cool effect and it's growing in popularity! You can find almost every city in miniature by searching 'tiny' or 'miniature' with the name of the city you'd like to see.

Watch the video.

Car WiFi: the summer road trip sanity saviour

Summer is here at last in New Zealand, and that means hours of driving as we pack everyone up and migrate to our favourite beaches and lakes for a holiday. Have you started wondering how on earth you're going to survive those long travelling hours with peace-destroying factors such as backseat drivers, chatty relatives or screaming children?

Well fear not because we have the perfect solution for you: car WiFi.

It feels like WiFi could very well be a magic word in this day and age: it's like a spell that quells all car-bound unsettlement. Connection to the internet is like virtual IV drip that pumps out a constant flow of instant communication, vital entertainment and endless information 24-7. To have car-wide internet access (with everyone online at once) doesn't' have to eat away all your emergency mobile data. With car WiFi, you can keep everyone occupied online while you comfortably focus on the drive.

Like most matters in the tech world, there's more than one way to achieve connection. Let's look at a few ways in which you can bring the internet to your long-haul trips this summer:

Mobile/portable routers

Travel-sized mobile routers are a heaven-sent gadget made to deliver 3G on the go! All you need to get these gadgets working is a power source. Essentially, they are usually miniature versions of the big WiFi routers you have sitting around at home; offering stable wireless internet to any device in the vicinity. You can pick up a reasonably priced mobile router at PB Tech.

Your smartphone

If everyone is willing to chip-in towards the cost of a few gigabytes of data from your mobile service provider of choice, then you can actually convert your phone into a portable 'hotspot' for WiFi. Best of all, you don't have to stress about strangers connecting to your device because it's easy to setup password access for your family and friends to use when they access.

Those with access to your phone's WiFi do not have any access to your mobile or any of the information on it. This set up simply shares out the data that your service provider offers you. All you need to do is ensure you have enough data to last a car trip.

You can find helpful tutorials to help you set up your smartphone as a mobile hotspot on YouTube.

Cars that come with bonus WiFi

So technically it's not 'bonus' WiFi, but you could certainly consider it a treat when you purchase a modern car that comes with its own integrated WiFi. With built-in GPS systems becoming more commonly connected in the modern car, you'll find that most cars will allow you to connect too.

The only issue with integrated car WiFi is that it can be a challenge to update. If the technology becomes outdated, you could find yourself forking out a lot of money to get things replaced. For now, this is probably the easiest and most convenient option for you and your family as it doesn't require extra gadgets, power, or data costs... and is totally wire-free.

Did you ever think it could be so simple to access the internet in your car? We hope you find a way to get everyone functioning comfortably online as you commit to a long drive this summer. With a working GPS for you and entertainment and communication up and running for your passengers, you'll have everyone calmly and coolly delivered to your favourite summer destination this year.

Who knows, you might even make the most of the portable internet yourself if you come across a rainy day or two at your camp site.

ORAK - Your ally on the internet these school holidays

If you have children old enough to be internet users, chances are you've experienced a scare or two regarding their online escapades. The internet is a powerful medium that can be used for good or evil. Unfortunately, it isn't anything like that bad crowd of kids you advise your own children to avoid.

We know you probably have better things to be doing than sitting there beside your kids watching their every online move. You don't want to scan their social medias to ensure 'homework hour' is in effect. You don't need that bright smartphone screen or messenger tone to be blaring through the entirety of 'family movie time'. You certainly don't want to pour over their browsing history to ensure all visits and views to websites are agreeable.

The solution could be a simple program like ORAK. With it you can manage what devices can be used, at what times of day, and what can be seen and accessed at all times.

Simply put, it's a system that effectively allows you to manage your home's broadband. You can manage what your kids are viewing and (the best part) when. The Orak system is based around different users using different devices – parents shouldn't need to partake in the pains of an 'internet ban' during homework hour.

That's right. No more Facebook during homework time.

Orak is 100 percent customisable, so you don't have to banish those helpful information-rich websites during your child's study periods. Settings can be suited to family needs, so you can do your social networking past bedtime without worrying about your kids doing the same out of sight!

It gets better...you can also control the Xbox and Playstation, provided these are connected to the Microsoft or Playstation networks. Access to either network can be cut with Orak at any time you please, and you can schedule slots (such as weekends) where kids are free to jump online and game.

You'll also be more than able to block unwanted websites. Orak is user friendly, and makes it extremely easy for you as a parent to protect your child from the nasty corners of the internet.

If you're interested in Orak, you can check them out online for more information, or follow Orak on Facebook for extra online safety advice.

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!

Amazon Prime Video (NZ)
https://www.primevideo.com/ – Amazon's video-streaming service is now available in New Zealand, offering a cheaper alternative to Lightbox, Neon and Netflix. Prime Video is home to popular shows such as the ex Top Gear squad's new show, 'The Grand Tour'.

t leaf T (Tea Leaf Tea)
http://www.tleaft.co.nz/ – The perfect website for tea lovers, t leaf T offers a huge range of tea infusions from all over the globe that can be conveniently delivered to your door. They also offer $2 sample packets of tea so you can try before you commit to a full sized bag.

The Wondrous Wellington Advent Calendar
http://advent.wellingtonnz.com/ – Each day in the lead up to Christmas, 24 festive treats will be waiting for you. Find the treats hidden behind one of Wellington's doors in cool 360 videos and get the prize sent straight to your email inbox! Prizes are generally '2 for 1' vouchers at Wellington's most famous eateries and the like.

Tech Crunch
https://techcrunch.com/ – Tech Crunch is a leading technology media property, dedicated to obsessively profiling startups, reviewing new Internet products, and breaking tech news.

http://www.oldversion.com/ – A wonderful non-profit organisation that provides reliable old versions of all your favourite software (mostly for Windows).

http://www.honeylab.co.nz/ – HoneyLab undertake research into the medical uses of New Zealand honey, bee venom and other products from bees and their environment. You can shop for kiwi-made pharmaceuticals and skincare products on their website, or follow their interesting science news updates.

1000 Life Hacks
http://1000lifehacks.com/ – Life hacks have become so popular all over the web lately, and this website sought to collect thousands of them for your scrolling pleasure.
Internet Live Stats
http://www.internetlivestats.com/ – Watch the Internet as it grows in real time and monitor social media usage: Internet users, websites, blog posts, Facebook, Google+, Twitter, and Pinterest users.
Infographic Journal
http://infographicjournal.com/ – A series of infographic presentation tips and tricks that will help you to stand out with confidence at your next presentation.
Documentary Heaven
http://documentaryheaven.com/ – A collection of varied documentary genres for those rainy days where you feel like sitting inside watching random information-packed episodes.

Cyberspace news snippets

What's been happening in the online world?

New Zealand

Top Google searches of New Zealand in 2016 (from earthquakes and elections to Pokemon Go): 2016, it has been remarked, has been a hell of a year in New Zealand and abroad. We've gotten used to the earth rumbling, an entirely new political order overseas, and a world without David Bowie or Leonard Cohen. But we've also had cause to celebrate the achievements of our Olympians, make perfect pancakes and try to knuckle down the elusive meaning of life once and for all. Click here for more.

Student-made app helps out in natural disasters: Ex-Hutt Valley High students Nick Hyland, Rakshana Premasiri and Dipesh Patel developed the Wellington Now app in 2015 and have had more than 5000 downloads since then. Click here for more.

Bill English trailing Brand Key on social media: He's officially taken over John Key's title, but Bill English still has a long way to go in the public popularity stakes to match his predecessor. The official John Key Facebook page has more than 250,000 likes, while Bill English is almost hitting 19,000. Click here for more.

Adele and Tape Face are New Zealand's top trending videos for 2016: Adele and James Corden are the most dominant forces on the internet this year, with their Carpool Karaoke segment confirmed as the top trending video on YouTube this year. Click here for more.

Phones are back but internet is patchy: ALL mobile phone services here have now been restored to full service but Chorus is still fixing some issues for nearly 1000 people unable to connect to broadband internet. Over the two-day blackout across Gisborne, all mobile phone services were affected at one point, with Spark, Vodafone and 2degrees all having to fly in extra generators to power mobile sites across the region. Local companies Evolution Wireless and First Tribe Technologies set up recharging stations for mobile phones. Click here for more.

Social Media

'That's the baby on Facebook': Just moments after a Rotorua grandmother saw a Facebook post reporting a missing toddler she walked outside to find the boy in a man's arms. Click here for more.

Snapchat: How the vanishing-photo app managed not to fade: Snapchat has managed to build something lasting out of photos that vanished almost instantly...a sharp contrast to Facebook and other social networks, which encouraged people to share and share often - even those spontaneous moments they might come to regret the next morning or at the next job interview. Click here for more.

Why I'm sharing my babies' photos on Facebook: When you become a parent for the first time there are so many decisions you have to make. You've got to pick a name, choose where the baby will sleep, work out how you want to feed her and so on. And these days you also have to think about your new addition's social media presence. Apparently there's even a word for it. Sharenting. Click here for more.

Log off if you're feeling sad, say researchers: An extensive review has found looking at social media makes happy people happier - and sad people sadder. Click here for more.

Ten meme themes of 2016: In 2015, the internet gave birth to "Netflix and Chill" and the revelation that any misfortune - no matter how minute - calls for a healthy dose of Michael Jordan tears. Memes continued to reign supreme in 2016, but with a somewhat newsier twist. After all, it's not every year America sees a presidential election, the Olympics and a Gilmore Girls remake. Here are 10 of the biggest meme themes of the year. Click here for more.

Gadgets and Tech

Christmas drone pilots could be dicing with danger: Drones are reaching new heights this Christmas, with the flying vehicles proving one of this year's hottest Christmas presents. However, the popular gadgets come with a word of warning. Airport staff are warning it is illegal to fly a drone anywhere in controlled airspace - without a license and clearing it with air traffic control first. The controlled airspace extends several kilometres from all New Zealand airports, meaning that getting your drone a few metres off the ground could be illegal. It did not spend anything on boosting Facebook posts. Click here for more.

Most people struggle with tech: If you struggle with smartphones and computers, you are not alone - about 70 per cent of people find technology difficult. A recent study of OECD countries placed people into five categories: can't use computers, terrible, poor, medium and strong. Only 5 per cent were rated at strong, with everyone else facing some type of confusion when using gadgets.Click here for more.

Security and Privacy

Hackers stole data from more than one billion Yahoo user accounts: Yahoo says it has identified a new system breach, where hackers are believed to have stolen data from more than one billion user accounts in August 2013, making it the largest breach in history. The company believes the breach is separate from the one it reported less than three months ago, when 500 million accounts were compromised in 2014, a cyber breach believed to be the world's largest-known at the time. Yahoo said the stolen user account information may have included names, email addresses, telephone numbers, dates of birth, hashed passwords and, in some cases, encrypted or unencrypted security questions and answers. Click here for more.

YouTube generation is acting out their lives: Videos of kids simply acting like kids attract millions of viewers. Every moment of childhood - getting new toys, tagging along to the grocery store - is recorded and uploaded. So is it any wonder that the children who watch these videos begin to act as if their lives are being recorded, too? Click here for more.

Leonid Bershidsky: Social networks must stand against censorship: The pressure for social networks to censor the content that appears on them just won't cease, and the networks are bending. Censorship, however, is not what users want. Nor is it technically possible, even if the platforms won't admit it. Click here for more.

How to protect kids online: Apps and tactics used by experts – and real parents: Having a separate free webmail account for services which you think are likely to leak your email address helps to protect you from spammers and hackers. Click here for more.

Cyber security company Proofpoint announces 2017 predictions: To protect her kids from accidentally seeing sexual content; from getting scammed, stalked or bullied; or from simply spending too much time in front of a screen, these parents have set up an Internet router with strict filters. Click here for more.

The Weird, Wide Web

How the internet keeps poor people in poor neighborhoods: They wanted to expose how Facebook allowed advertisers to discriminate based on race. So they used Facebook's advertising tools to exclude certain users from seeing the ad: African Americans, Asian Americans, and Hispanics. Click here for more.

What the entire internet looked like in September 1973: Before it became an enormous ocean of information carrying over a zettabyte of physical transcontinental connections, the internet used to be a lot simpler. Half a century ago, the entirety of ARPANET, predecessor of the internet, was just 45 computers connected to 40 nodes. Click here for more.

The 8 most memorable internet challenges of 2016: 2016 was a strange year for viral internet challenges. Arguably, the most popular one was called the "mannequin challenge," which had large groups of people — including Hillary Clinton — freezing in place while a camera panned around the room and "Black Beatles" played in the background. While this may be the most memorable, there were plenty of other bizarre trends that kept people busy all year on social media. Here's a look at a few of them. 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.

Rugby World Cup fastest-rising search term : We had a general election and a Budget full of cuts, but when it came to what we wanted to know more about this year, it was all rugby. Click here for more.

Art gallery goes global with Google : Auckland Art Gallery will open its doors to distant audiences as one of two Australasian galleries chosen for the virtual museum tours launched by Google earlier this year. Click here for more.

Mobile broadband use grows : New Zealanders are flocking to mobile broadband, connecting to the internet via their phones or computers equipped with USB dongles, according to the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development. Click here for more.

Netflix turned off by low data caps : Internet movie and television service Netflix has no plans to enter the New Zealand market because of the country's low internet data caps. Click here for more.

Websites reeling in shoppers : Web-based retailers are giving their bricks-and-mortar counterparts a run for their money in the battle for festive season sales. 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 January!

Rob Zorn


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