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From the Actrix Online Informer July 2008

by Rob Zorn

Readers' Forum July 2008

If you'd like to ask a question or request some help on any Actrix or Internet-related matter. Simply send us 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).

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Graham writes: Recently I was the victim of a person who posed as myself and made an inappropriate listing on an auction site. This person also has posted inappropriate false statements about myself. I know who it is, but sadly the police have stated that this is now a civil matter as they no longer handle these complaints. They suggested I go to my lawyer. This would be very costly to myself. The administration of these sites disabled this person several times but they just reregister under another username. Is there an organisation that will look into this and take action? This I feel could happen to anyone and has many times in the past. Thanks for your suggestions.

Hi Graham, This is not a nice thing to happen, and could potentially be much more serious than just being a 'pain in the neck'. It is, in fact, a potential act of identity theft. There are New Zealand organisations that would be better placed to advise you these sorts of things, as they deal with them every day. My first port of call would be to contact NetSafe, and ask them about your options (queries@netsafe.org.nz/0508 638 723). NetSafe's website is at http://netsafe.org.nz/index.php.

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In last month's Actrix Online Informer, Paranaputra asked about egg-timer type software he could install so he would never miss deadlines again.

Jeremy has written in with some free software he uses called "Stickies". It's like an electonic post-it note feature that will remind you of stuff, and can work with an alarm. It's made by Zhorn software (love the name) and can be found at http://www.zhornsoftware.co.uk/.  It looks like Zhorn do a number of other free applications as well. Thanks Jeremy!

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Kathryn writes: Hi there. I have been getting reminder messages from AVG to say it will no longer be free from the end of June and need to update to the next paid version. Before I do, just wanted to check if you still recommend AVG, or is there anything cheaper and just as good - or better? Thanks.

Hi Kathryn, It seems there is some confusion over whether AVG will stop being free when users upgrade to version 8.0. However, it seems the confusion might be based on the pop-up notice being poorly worded. It says that virus definitions for your current version of AVG will no longer be available after 31 May and you will have to upgrade to version 8. But then it seems to imply you can only get the paid for version.

In fact version 8 of AVG is still free an you can upgrade to it here: http://free.grisoft.com/ww.download-avg-anti-virus-free-edition. Not being an AVG user, I haven't been through the upgrade process, but it seems you might want to ignore the pop-up and just go download and install version 8 at this link.

Should the time come when you're not able to use AVG anymore, there are a number of free alternatives out there. Avast seems to be the most popular one. It may not have all the bells and whistles AVG has, but it has a pretty good reputation for protection, and its users seem to like it. You can get it at www.avast.com.

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Allistair writes: Hi there. Hi Rob, A message comes up asking me how I want to send my email. HTML, Plain Text, or both. What are the pros and cons of each? Regards Allistair

Hi Allistair, The main difference between the two is that choosing HTML for your email means you can add formatting such as different colours, bullet or numbered list points, bold, italics, different fonts, and you can paste in pictures. This can allow you to make your emails more visually attractive, or can make it easier to set out information in understandable ways. You'll find the difference is that if you're composing an HTML email you'll have the toolbars available to play around with formatting. In a plain text email, those tools won't be there.

The disadvantage of HTML email is that it takes up a little more space and the email becomes a larger file to send. The more formatting you add, the bigger it becomes. This could make your email a problem for someone who is struggling with a slow connection. In this day and age, it really doesn't matter much. A little HTML formatting won't add a significant enough amount of file space to make much difference (it will if you start adding pictures, though).

Some people don't like HTML formatting in email and set their email programs to only read and reply to emails in plain text, so if you're sending an email to a purist like that your formatting won't achieve much anyway, but most people don't care one way or the other.

Most Microsoft email programs can be set to compose emails in either plain text, rich text or HTML under Tools/Options/Mail Format. There you can also choose whether you always answer mail in a certain format, whether to reply in HTML to a received HTML email etc. For all intents and purposes, rich text will look and behave the same as HTML. There's no good reason to choose it, though, as it is a Microsoft only format.

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Caroline writes: Hello Rob, Is there any way I can set my Actrix email to block mail from a specific sender? I am getting sent lots of huge spam files, all from the same address, that take ages to download. thanks, Caroline

Hi Caroline, Yes, there is, though you will probably find the spammers change to a different address to hound you from anyway. I've included some instructions on how to use Message Rules on Outlook Express. If you’re using another email program, let me know.

To create Message Rules in Outlook Express:

  1. Click Tools, then Message Rules.
  2. On the right-hand side of the Message Rules box that appears, click New.
  3. Select the condition for your rule as When the From line contains people.
  4. Select the action for your rule as ‘Delete from server’.
  5. In the Rule Description field click he underlined condition (in this case it will be ‘contains people’) and add the email address you'd like to avoid in the box that pops up.
  6. Click OK to close the open dialogue boxes and if all has gone well Outlook Express will now automatically delete emails from that address without downloading them.

Be very careful though, as anything deleted using this method will not be retrievable.

 

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