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From the Actrix Online Informer March 2010

by Rob Zorn

Readers' Forum March 2010

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 turn up under the Helpful Tips section on the Actrix home page (www.actrix.co.nz).

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Richard writes: Dear Ed, Received this e-mail recently, any comments?. Richard.

"Computer repairman says this is like having gold. This is a good thing. I learned a computer trick today that's really ingenious in its simplicity.

"As you may know, when/if a worm virus gets into your computer it heads straight for your email address book, and sends itself to everyone in there, thus infecting all your friends and associates.

"This trick won't keep the virus from getting into your computer, but it will stop it from using your address book to spread further, and it will alert you to the fact that the worm has gotten into your system.

"Here's what you do: First, open your address book and click on 'new contact,' just as you would do if you were adding a new friend to your list of email addresses. In the window where you would type your friend's first name, type in ' A'. For the screen name or email address, type AAAAAAA@AAA.AAA...

Hi Richard, Sounds plausible, but following these instructions would make little difference. Viruses don’t behave like humans, working their way systematically through lists to find email addresses. They’ll trawl your entire hard drive. They also don’t use your email program to send themselves on. They have their own built-in emailing abilities that certainly aren't subject to your address book rules. And of course, these days viruses can attack you through lots of ways other than email.

This often well-intentioned hoax has been around since 2001 and is covered pretty well at the Urban Legends website: http://www.snopes.com/computer/virus/quickfix.asp. As the site says, you’re best protection against viruses is to use good anti-virus software, and to be really careful about opening attachments.

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Terry writes: Firstly, I must say that we are pleased with the efficiency of the Actrix Spam filter - we receive very little spam into our inbox. However, I sometimes need to check our email via Webmail when away from home, and when checking contents of the spam folder have found mail which is definitely NON-spam. I have double-checked that the sender is in our Contacts, and not sure what else we can do to avoid losing mail. I suspect we have on occasion lost mail which we have not realised has gone to the spam folder as this is only checked when using Webmail.

Hi Terry, Thanks for your kind words. Yes, this can be a bit of an occupational hazard with spam filters. Our technicians work very hard towards striking the right balance between tight rules on the filters, and rules that are too tight so that legitimate emails are marked as spam. Unfortunately, the nature of spam can be so variable and complex that they don’t always get it 100% right. If the rules were relaxed just a little, they may allow a flurry of unwanted and offensive spam. The good news is that, considering the massive volumes of spam received and very few false positives, the rules are about as effective as we could hope for.

It's always advisable to check your spam folder once a week, especially if you’re waiting for something important that hasn’t shown up. Actrix users can do that by logging into My Actrix on the home page and clicking the ‘Webmail and Spam Folder’ link. Click ‘Spam’ over on the left to see what’s in your spam folder.

I hope that's helpful. Seeing as our spam filters operate independently of your email program, your contacts list will make no difference, by the way.

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Steve writes: I have just seen your 20th birthday competition. Happy Birthday to you... A wee small gripe. We have been with Actrix for at least 10 years and have already signed up to a number of your services. At this stage we don't need any more but we would like to be included in your competition – is there any chance that existing members, or at least long term members can be entered? It doesn’t seem fair that a new member might win the prize – after all doesn’t the old sales mantra tell us that we should "look after our existing customers as the cost of getting new ones is very high."

Operations Manager Peter Cranston responds: Hi Steve, Thanks for taking the time to send feedback, it's always good to know what our customers are thinking!

In regards to the current promotions we're giving all existing customers the chance to win one of three prizes of free broadband for a year (each worth over $1,700), and also offering the trip to Samoa as a prize for any new or existing customers that apply for one of the featured products. We are trying to reward our existing customers, and encourage both them and new customers to apply for new products and services. There will likely be further promotions and pressies as the year progresses, some aimed towards existing customers and some designed more to attract new customers to Actrix.

However, I can assure you we definitely have not forgotten our customers, and we think that's one reason we're still around after 20 years! I hope this answers your query.

 

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