Readers' Forum - June 2006

From the June 2006 Actrix Customer Newsletter

If you'd like to ask a question or request some help on any Actrix or Internet-related matter. Simply send me an e-mail with the word "Forum" in the subject line. I'll try and get an answer to you by return e-mail, and will also post the answer here for the benefit of others who may have a similar question or problem. By the same token, if you read something here and think you may have something to suggest, please feel more than free. Please also note that questions and answers may also turn up under the Helpful Tips section on the Actrix home page (www.actrix.co.nz).

Barbara writes: I have installed on my computer Nortons Anti-Virus 2006. Is it necessary for me to also have Ad-Aware and SpyBot which are also installed or would Nortons be sufficient? Many thanks, Barbara.

Hi Barbara, Because spyware and adware are changing all the time, there isn't a straightforward answer to this one. I'd say you can probably get by without the free spyware eradicators if you have Nortons Anti-Virus 2006 installed. It's a good quality commercial product that is well supported and it is probably a little better on the whole than the free ones in comprehensively identifying and dealing to spyware.

This is not to say that the free ones aren't also good and useful. You'll usually find that if you run more than one anti-spyware feature, each will pick up a little something that the other might have missed.

You could conduct a little experiment yourself. Make sure each of the three is up-to-date, then do a spyware scan with Nortons. After that, run each of the free programs and see if they pick up anything Nortons missed. That might give you your answer!

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Julie writes: I have more of a comment than a question. While downloading emails on Outlook Express I was frequently cut off with the message "Your server has unexpectedly terminated the connection". This was driving me mad as when I tried again it had to go right back to the start of downloading. So I phoned the Actrix help desk, and they suggested looking at the messages in Web Mail and deleting any really large ones, and then going to Outlook Express. This has saved me hours of frustration - best piece of advice I have been given. Many thanks. Julie

Hi Julie. Yes, this is a valuable thing to remember. Sometimes people send you e-mails with large attachments, and these can cause problems when Outlook express tries to download them. The download sometimes gets hung. Every time you go back and try again the same thing happens. What's worse is that you never get to see any of the e-mails behind the big one, and any e-mails before it will be downloaded again each time you try, because Outlook Express doesn't remove them from your mailbox until it has managed to get everything down.

Customers experiencing this difficulty can log into My Actrix on the Actrix home page (www.actrix.co.nz) and choosing Web Mail. This allows you to look at all the contents of your mailbox without having to download anything to Outlook Express. This is handy for spotting the big e-mail that's causing the problem, reading it if needed, and then deleting it. Just be aware that if you do this, the e-mail you delete is permanently gone.

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Libby writes: Hi, I am envious of people who can get broadband. One of the disadvantages of living out in the countryside! I get the usual excuses about the quality of lines, blah, blah, blah. Waiting for something to download through dialup is seriously getting to my sense of humour.....*sigh*. Anyway my query is about getting a "string" that would open up the speed of my dialup. I have heard about this, but do not fully understand how to do this. Could you help me with this because I'm about to go ballistic next time I try do download something that'll take three hours instead of 20 minutes! Libby

Hi Libby, A modem string is just a little line of code that is added to your modem's settings. In most cases, a string will make your modem go faster by slowing it down a little. Putting it very simply, on a bad line, your modem will often overwork itself and end up doing an even worse job. Modems (yours and the Actrix modem it's connected to) are always negotiating and re-negotiating speeds between themselves depending on line conditions, and where these are bad the modem is often busier doing this than it is transferring data.

A string will often force the modem to slow down a little bit. As a result it handles the fluctuating line conditions better and re-negotiates less. Ironically, the result is often a faster flow of data than if it was allowed to go at full pace.

Strings will differ depending on your modem type. You're best off calling the Actrix help desk (0800-228749). They can find out what your modem is, and they'll usually be able to find a string to enter into the settings. Adding the string is easy to do, and usually just takes a few mouse-clicks. There are no guarantees, but it may help.

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Judy writes: Hello Rob. I was interested that, in response to a question in the May newsletter, you mentioned that "CC" refers to "carbon copy". While I know the Americans use this explanation and are indeed very old-fashioned in their formatting of text, you might be interested to know that the 1978 Australasian edition of The Typewriting Dictionary refers to the extension of CC as "copy circulated to" (page 31). I think you'll agree that this is a much more relevant usage these days? And "BCC" can be used as "blind copy circulated".

Well, you learn something every day, and I will try and think of it as "Copy Circulated" from now on. - Ed.