Actrix Newsletter June 2002

This newsletter has been produced to help you get the most out of the Internet,
and to keep you, as an Actrix customer, informed of developments and services within the company.
Past newsletters may be viewed at http://editor.actrix.co.nz/
Newsletters are now archived by article at http://editor.actrix.co.nz/byarticle/
Questions and comments about the newsletter can be e-mailed to editor@actrix.co.nz
Other inquiries should be e-mailed to support@actrix.co.nz

 

Is It Safe to Use Your Credit Card Online?

by Rob Zorn

Being in the Internet industry, and dealing with customers on a regular basis, we often come across people who feel a real debilitating unease about using their credit cards to make online purchases. While it is reasonably common to read about Internet scams, stolen identities and so forth, my contention is that it is no more unsafe to use your credit card online than it is to use it anywhere else.

The fear is that when you enter your credit card details into a field on a website, you don't know where those details are going to end up, or you're not sure who might be "listening" to the transaction. These are legitimate concerns, but really, they aren't significantly different to you giving your credit card to a waiter in a restaurant. How hard would it be for a member of the waiting staff to make a quick copy of your card number and expiry date? How hard would it be for him to retrieve such records from sales documentation and go on a shopping spree courtesy of you, once he had your details?

I guess what I'm saying is that in reality it is virtually never 100% safe to use your credit card. However, just as one tends to exercise care with credit cards in the physical world, so can one exercise similar care in cyberspace that will result in a similar level of safety and security.

First of all, a waiter is unlikely to steal your credit card numbers. He or she knows that with the amount of electronic record-keeping and verification that goes on, the likelihood of being traced and caught for using your card illegally is pretty high. We know, too, that reputable firms are likely to have policies and practices in place to prevent staff from being easily able to abuse knowledge of your credit card details - but the operative word here is "reputable firms." So, the first and most obvious piece of advice is to only use your credit card to purchase online from firms you feel you can trust - firms that have known physical premises, places that have been around a while and have been conducting online transactions for a some time without major problems. You should feel a lot more confidence giving Amazon.com your details than when you're using them at Fred's Online Porn Palace.

Secondly, you should never enter your credit card details over an unsecured site.  A secure site will use encryption to protect your data as it travels between your computer and theirs. Anyone intercepting that data between the two sites will not be able to make sense of it and it will be of no use to them.  You'll know you're on such a secure page by the fact that the http:// in the page address changes to https://, and/or a little closed lock icon appears in the lower portion of your web browser.

Thirdly, it is definitely unwise to send your credit card details via e-mail. In reality, e-mail travels between computers pretty much like a postcard travels through the post. It can be intercepted and read by parties you're unaware of along the way (unless you're using some form of e-mail encryption that not many people bother with). Sending your details by e-mail also means that an electronic copy of those details is on your machine, and is probably saved on someone else's as well. This means that if your computer (or theirs) is hacked or stolen, someone else may be able to retrieve the details and put them to nefarious use. Some people recommend sending credit card details broken up into two or more separate e-mails. This might reduce the risk a little, but not much more than doing the same thing with two or more postcards through the post.

Lastly, in a worst case scenario, if someone does manage to get your credit card details and use them for their own ends, you're not likely to be liable for the debt anyway. I spoke with someone at ANZ Credit Cards in New Zealand who informed me that Internet vendors are required to verify you are who you say you are before they accept a credit card purchase. If you can make a good case that it was not you that made the purchases, and the vendors didn't attempt to verify your authenticity, then the credit card companies will pursue the debt with the vendor and not with you.   Please be aware that I write this on the basis of one telephone conversation with one ANZ employee. You are advised to check this sort of policy yourself with the bank or lending institution through which you have your credit card.

Credit card companies are aware that many people remain reluctant to use their cards online. Of course they want you to use your card as often as possible, so initiatives are currently underway by the major companies to address people's security concerns. Visa are developing a procedure called "Verified by Visa" that will be based on a secret password that only you know and that can be transmitted to the vendor without him learning it. Mastercard are working on their own security technique called S.E.T. (Secure Electronic Transaction) that will use further encryption to make things at least appear more secure to the public. You can read about these initiatives on the respective websites http://www.visa-asia.com/verified/index.shtml and http://www.mastercard.com/nz/shoponline/set/index.html.

Then There's Always PayPal

Paypal is a reasonably neat little service that allows you to pay individuals (who wouldn't normally accept credit cards) and some businesses, using your credit card and without sending any details to anyone at all (except once to PayPal, of course). You pay PayPal instead, who then pay the person on your behalf. You can receive money from people in the same way. You provide PayPal with your credit card and your cheque account details. If you pay someone, PayPal debits your card and pays into the other person's cheque account. If your receiving money, PayPal debits their card and forwards the money to you. You can leave your balance at PayPal and use it to pay others, or you can choose to have your balance paid out into your cheque account (for a small fee). It's a great and reliable service used by many people on the Internet. It is very well known and widely accepted, and loved by online Auction enthusiasts who often buy from individuals overseas.

It's free to register with Paypal (www.paypal.com).

It's an Online World

The thing is, E-commerce (commerce over the Internet) is rapidly becoming a way of life. It's getting easier and safer to purchase online, and it is just so darn convenient. Many so-called Net experts go so far as to say that within 10 years we'll be buying just about all our groceries online and having them delivered because it will be cheaper for supermarkets to do it this way than to hire uniformed checkout staff and maintain enticing storefronts. More and more people are using sites like Ebay (www.ebay.com) to shop for birthday presents or to further their hobbies. It's often cheaper to buy books or music overseas (where you're more likely to find what you really want) and have them shipped here than to buy the same items at a downtown store. 

The web doesn't just bring us information. It brings us wider choice, enhanced opportunity and convenience. If you're still uncomfortable using your credit card online, then don't, but it would be a shame for you to miss out on all that choice and convenience unnecessarily due to mistaken fears.


Actrix Privacy

by Amber McEwen
Actrix Marketing

What do we do with your information?

Due to the changes we made earlier this year many of you have chosen to register your credit card details with us. At the same time many of you have expressed concern about where we store your credit card information and who has access to it. To address this concern we have recently updated our Terms & Conditions to include a section on how we deal with your Personal Information. So I thought I would take this opportunity tell you about the changes we have made.

Collecting Your information

In order for you to open an account with us you need to provide us with some personal information. This usually includes your name, address, phone number and it may include your credit card details. At any time you can see the information we hold about you by logging into the Members Section of our web site where you can view the details we have for you on record. Once you have logged in you can correct any of your personal information by going to My Info/Edit My Account. To find out what credit card details we hold for you, you will need to call our Help Desk and speak to one of our accounts personnel.

Storing Your information

Protecting your personal information is important to us, so any information we hold about you is kept securely in our customer database. Your credit card details are stored in such a way that they can only be viewed by our Accounts Department.

When you close your account

If you close your account we will erase your credit card details from our database within 24 hours, unless there is money owing on your account. If money is owing we will remove your credit card details 24 hours after the account has been paid. The rest of your personal information will be deleted from our database within 12 months. If at the end of this time you either owe us money or your account is in dispute we will keep your information in our database until payment is made or the dispute is resolved.

To view our complete Terms & Conditions please visit the Actrix website (www.actrix.co.nz ) and click on the About Actrix/Actrix Terms & Conditions link on the home page.


New Virus Hoax - Jdbgmgr.Exe
Yep, One More Virus Hoax

The Jdbgmgr Hoax is almost exactly the same as the Sulfnbke Hoax that was doing the rounds earlier this year. We ran an article on that hoax in the February Newsletter. As was the case with Sulfnbke, the Jdbgmgr hoax e-mail turns up, usually sent to you by a confused or alarmed friend, and encourages you to go and delete a perfectly innocent Windows file from your system.The file that the hoax refers to, Jdbgmgr.exe, is a Java Debugger Manager. It is a Microsoft file that is installed when you install Windows. It has a teddy bear icon as described in the hoax.

Now, it is true that, just like any .exe file, Jdbgmgr.exe, can become infected by a virus. One virus in particular, W32.Efortune.31384@mm targets this file, but just because the file appears on your hard drive, that does not mean it has become infected. Any healthy Windows system should have that file there.

If you have already deleted the Jdbgmgr.exe file, some Java applets may not run correctly while you are browsing. This is not a critical system file and the file version may vary with your operating system and version of Internet Explorer. If you want to restore the file, the easiest method is probably to do a re-install of Windows.

This hoax has appeared in several languages. The English version usually resembles the following:

I found the little bear in my machine because of that I am sending this message in order for you to find it in your machine. The procedure is very simple:

The objective of this e-mail is to warn you about a new virus that is spreading by MSN Messenger. The name of this virus is jdbgmgr.exe and it is sent automatically by the Messenger and by the address book too. The virus is not detected by McAfee or Norton and it stays quiet for 14 days before damaging the system.

The virus can be cleaned before it deletes the files from your system. In order to eliminate it, it is just necessary to do the following steps:
1. Go to Start, click "Search"
2.- In the "Files or Folders option" write the name jdbgmgr.exe
3.- Be sure that you are searching in the drive "C"
4.- Click "find now"
5.- If the virus is there (it has a little bear-like icon with the name of jdbgmgr.exe DO NOT OPEN IT FOR ANY REASON.
6.- Right click and delete it (it will go to the Recycle bin)
7.- Go to the recycle bin and delete it or empty the recycle bin.

IF YOU FIND THE VIRUS IN ALL OF YOUR SYSTEMS SEND THIS MESSAGE TO ALL OF YOUR CONTACTS LOCATED IN YOUR ADDRESS BOOK BEFORE IT CAN CAUSE ANY DAMAGE.

Hoaxes like these can actually do a lot of harm - they aren't harmless as some people might think. Forwarding them on causes panic and confusion, and can result in people following their instructions with negative results (as seen with this hoax), and can even result in a "boy who cries wolf" effect, whereby less-informed Internet users become de-sensitised by all the hoaxes and then ignore a REAL virus warning. Remember, many new Internet users have the mindset that "if I read it on the internet, it must be true". Sadly this is not the case. When receiving an email that claims to alert you to a new virus, look for URLs (links) to web pages at reputable antivirus sites, that back up the warning claim. A good virus warning should ALWAYS link to a website, eg. at Nortons or McAfee etc, to back up its claims. Lastly, if in doubt, check with a computer "geek" or your Internet Service Provider, or browse through a good antivirus website (eg. www.symantec.com/avcenter/) for information on the warning, to determine if it's real or a hoax. Most antivirus websites have info on hoaxes as well as legitimate viruses.


Making Your Way Around the Actrix Website

by Amber McEwen

This article outlines the many of the features on the home page of our new website. In next month's newsletter I will discuss the features found in the Member's Account Login area.

Home Link Bar

This link bar (pictured left) sits on the left hand side of the Home Page and contains quick links to other areas of our site. From this tool bar you can add block time to your CyberByte 1 account, read past newsletters, contact us, and much more. You can also access a map of our site to help you find what you are looking for more easily.

Information Bar

The grey Information Bar at the top of the screen contains all the information you need to know about Actrix's products and services. Just click the links to access dropdown menus. Click links within the dropdown menus to have more links appear, where applicable.

For example, by clicking the Domestic link, and then the Dialup Connections link in the dropdown menu, you can view the pricing information for our dial-up plans. If you are unsure about whether you are on the right plan, browse through this section and see what alternatives are available.

You can visit the Domestic section, for example, if you want to know more about our E-mail services. From there you can do the following:

  1. Visit our Personalised E-mails site,
  2. Set up a Vacation Message to tell people that you are away and won't be checking your e-mail,
  3. Sign up for an additional mailbox.

Internet Safe Usage Guide: This guide explains how to surf the Internet safely. It outlines the simple steps you can take to protect your children from some of the dangers that can be found in chat rooms and in other areas of the Internet.

User Homepages: Each Actrix dial-up account comes with a certain amount of space on our servers. This allows you to host a personal website with us for free. To view other personal websites, or to find out how to use this service, click on this link.

If you want to top up your CyberByte 1 account or request a Direct Debit form you can do this by clicking the Account Payment link.

Business Tab

This tab provides you with all the information you need to learn about our business products and services. If you are interested in ordering one of these services simply enter your details into the area provided and someone will contact you shortly.

Web Services Tab

This tab outlines our Web Hosting plans and our Web Design services. If you want to order one of these services just click on the link provided, enter your details, and someone will get back to your shortly.

Help Section

This section contains lots of useful information to help you set up and manage your Internet Connection.

The Actrix Help section contains Actrix dial-up and server information to help you configure your Internet Connection. It also tells you how to set up additional mailboxes for your account and how to add block time to your CyberByte 1 Plan.
If you want to configure your computer for Actrix simply select your operating system and follow the step-by-step instructions.
If you think you may have a virus, or just want to learn more about them, then this section may have the information you need. It contains information (and fixes) for some of the most common viruses around today.
The Web Browser Help Section contains step-by-step guides showing you how to set your homepage or save a page in your "favourites" column.
This E-mail Help section contains step-by-step guides to show you how to configure your E-mail programme for Actrix.
If you want to know what goes on behind the scene when you click connect or type in a web address then this section is the one for you. It contains tutorials explaining how different aspects of the Internet work.

About Actrix

This section contains information about who we are and where we’ve come from. From here you can learn about us, access our staff contact list and read our Terms and Conditions.

Other Home Page Features

Current News: Every day we update our current news section with the latest news from the world of Cyberspace. You will also find information on the latest viruses in this section. To view our archive of current news articles click on the current news icon and you will see a list of previous articles displayed.

What’s New at Actrix: This is where we post information on new products and any new developments that have happened at Actrix. It pays to keep an eye on this section to ensure you haven’t missed out on any new developments.

Tip of the Week: This section contains helpful hints on computer related issues. As you can see it is currently instructing you on how to change the home page on your web browser and last week it contained information on how to rid your computer of the Klez Virus. If you are new to computing or are keen to learn more about computers this is a good section to check from time to time.

Network Status: This is where we let you know what is happening with our network. If suddenly you find you can’t send/receive e-mail or can’t view any international sites this is where you go to see what might be happening. For every outage we experience we will let you know what has gone wrong and when we expect it to be fixed by.

Next month I will explain how to get the most out of the services that are available in the Member’s Only area. However like with anything, the best way to get the most out of our website is to take 5-10 minutes to explore it and familiarise yourself with all it has to offer.


Installation of Debian GNU/Linux Step by Step (Part 1)

by John Anderson

Over the last 5 months I've talked about the benefits of the GNU/Linux operating system. Now it's time to put my money where my mouth is. This article is the first in a step by step guide to installing Debian.

I have chosen the Debian distribution because it is widely used and runs the middle line between distributions which often work straight out of the box, like Red Hat, and ones which are very flexible and help you understand the system more, but can be arcane to configure like Slackware. Debian GNU/Linux is also very well documented, you can find out a slew of information at www.debian.org/doc.

Before I proceed, the obligatory disclaimer: Neither Actrix Networks nor the present writer can be held responsible for any fault or loss of information that may be due to the content of this article. Proceed with caution and at your own risk.

Packed and Ready to Go

Chances are you will already have a computer since you're reading this newsletter. You can simply reformat the hard drive and just whack Linux on there. This method can have mixed results. Think of it as heading out into a new country, mostly friendly and full of promise, but you still need to pack your bags carefully, have a decent map to get there and plan ahead a little. So, first of all, lets see what's in our bags.

There are several ways to find out what hardware makes up your computer. Making sure that you have disconnected the box from the mains, you can carefully open the box and record the hardware manually. Write down any significant looking numbers and letters and then check them on the Internet or send them through to me. Remember to always handle hardware carefully and to use a static strap (you can pick one of these up from any electronics store cheaply). Please be aware, if you mishandle your hardware you may never be able to fix it again. In order to find out the monitor setting you will have to dig out the manual that you've hopefully tucked away somewhere safe.

The other alternative is to use Windows to find out what you've got. Click on My Computer and then click once on the Local Disk Drive, usually called the c: drive. To the left you should see your hard disk capacity, which is usually measured now in GB or gigabytes.

Next , go to My Computer, Control Panel and then System. You will then need to find a panel called Device Manager. Under Windows 2000 it is under System and Hardware and then Device Manager.

You now need to scan through the list and write down the details of your video card, sound card, modem, network card and mouse. If you can't see enough details, right click on the item and then left click on properties.

Your list should look something like this:

HCF 56K PCI Modem
Serial Microsoft Mouse
Cirrus Logic GD5465 Graphics Card
Realtek 8139 Network Card
Creative Sound Blaster 16 Card

You also need to find out the frequency and resolution you are comfortable with. Right-click on your desktop and left click on properties, this will show your Display Properties. Now click on Settings and check out what it says under Colours. It is probably set to 16 bit or higher. Now look at Screen Area and write down what it says. It is probably something like 1024 by 768. Record these settings.

Now click on Advanced and Frequency. Record the frequency rate. It will be something like 75mhz.

One of the key areas where installations can have difficulty is WinModems. Most computers now come with these software based modems which are supposed to only be run on the Windows Operating Systems. You can find out more here at www.linmodems.org or send me an e-mail. WinModems are the equivalent of Here Be Dragons, you may want to save yourself a lot of heartache and purchase a hardware based serial port hardware modem.

Don't Forget the Map

We now need to get the map and determine the best way way to get there. We need the software.

Like almost everything to do with Unix, there is always more than one way to do it. Download a floppy set from an ftp server like ftp.citylink.co.nz, purchase a book like The Debian GNU/Linux Bible by Steven Hunger which comes with its own CD, or send a burnable CD to me care of Actrix Networks with a self addressed stamped envelope and I will send you a copy.

P O Box 11-410
Wellington

A Spot of Planning

Well, we're all well-packed, plenty of warm jumpers and possibly a handkerchief or two as well, and now we have the map. If you've ever ended up cold and wet and wondering where you are, you'll know why we need to quickly plan ahead the first leg.

If you want to have a dual booting system, meaning having both Windows and Linux at the same time, you will need to use a tool like Partition Magic, which you can find here: www.powerquest.com/partitionmagic.

Partitions are divisions in you hard disk which allow you to divide up your information. In Windows, by default, you install everything in one partition, if you want though, you can have separate partitions which helps if you need to reinstall your system, and still preserve your files separately, or have separate operating systems running on the same computer. You can change your operating system at startup.

Unix systems naturally divide into different sections. One of the things that constantly amazes about this operating system is that it is often so transparent. If something goes wrong, usually you can find the problem quickly through a sound knowledge of the following system and the ability to find and use the manual pages. The following schema is quickly described below, a more detailed discussion is available here: http://linux.oreillynet.com/pub/a/linux/2001/10/11/filesystem.html?page=1.

The system is divided up into.

/ root, the base of the system from which everything grows
/tmp temporary files
/usr and /usr/local where the applications sit

/bin binary files
/home the home of all user files
/etc configuration files etc etc
/var logs and mail, all the stuff that varies

/swap used when your computer's memory runs out of space

Some of these areas should have their own partition. There is a huge variety of ways of splitting the system up, but my recommendation is to split up the system like so. I have used 8 gigs of space:
/ 300MB
/swap 128MB
/tmp 300MB
/usr 3GB
/usr/local 2GB
/home 1GB
/var the remainder

When you load up Debian/GNU Linux for the first time you will be asked to partition your hard disk.

Let's Get Moving

So now we're ready to set foot on the road and begin. Send me a burnable CD and SASE if you want to head on to the next step. If you have any questions before we set out please email me on janderson@actrix.co.nz .

'Roads go ever ever on' - The Hobbit


Interesting Sites (Click the picture links to access the 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? Let me know and receive a free Norrie the Nerd chocolate bar courtesy of Actrix!

The Best of the Hubble Space Telescope
www.seds.org/hst/ - Here's a site that presents you with a large list of clickable links to individual images from the Hubble Space Telescope. Some of them are the very latest incorporating recent enhancements to their telescoping abilities. Each image has a few paragraphs of explanation and a convenient "Next" link for moving on to the next image in the series. There's some pretty awesome viewing here.
Robyn's Nest Parenting Network
www.robynsnest.com - This award-winning, and pleasantly designed site is devoted to providing you with the optimal tools to insure the best possible quality of life for your children. On this site you'll find many resources gathered from numerous sources, the majority from experts, others from personal experiences. It is an open forum allowing you to connect with others through bulletin boards and chat areas.
Odd and Unexplainable 9/11 Occurrences
http://www.geocities.com/united_airlines_flight_93/ - Another one for the conspiracy buffs.This site has gathered a large number of the bits and pieces about the whole 911 affair. You can tell its been put together by the conspiracy theorists. Most of the content has quite an anti-American flavour, though de-classified documents from the early 60s about how the American government could stage just such a thing for their own ends are disturbing.
Information About Aging
www.infoaging.org/ - Here's a site dedicated to teaching folks how to stay healthy while growing older. InfoAging.org delivers up-to-date information about research into age-related diseases and fitness for the elderly, including quick-hit news stories and longer features. The site is tailored to a non-scientific audience and includes information on topics ranging from Alzheimer's disease to osteoarthritis and macular degeneration. There is also an "Ask the Expert" section and a lifestyle section devoted to staying healthier longer.
Muppet World!
www.muppetworld.com/ - Does Fozzie's Cyberama sound appealing to you? How about Gonzo's Galactic Outpost? I'm sure a lot of people remember the Muppet Show with enthusiasm. This is a well-designed Flash site with lots of videos, sounds, fun and games. I'm not sure how useful this site will be to help you get your kids to see that there was a time when the creators of kids' shows really loved and cared about the characters they were creating - the good old days before the Power Puff Girls!
Free Online Dictionary of Computing
http://foldoc.doc.ic.ac.uk/foldoc/index.html - Do you think that the PCI bus is what you take when the PCI train isn't running? Maybe it's time to take a quick trip to the Free On-Line Dictionary Of Computing, or FOLDOC. Search here or browse to find out the meanings of computer-ese terms such as JavaScript, cross-posting, and Blue Screen of Death. You can also use FOLDOC to translate hackerspeak phrases such as "Get a real computer."
Awesome Toys You'll Never Buy!
www.iwantoneofthose.com/ - I Want One of Those Dot Com - Stuff you don't need but really, really want. This has got to be the most innovative, and wonderfully creative catalogue of hi-tech gadgets you'll never fork over the money to buy. I wish I had owned one of those rubber band gatling guns when I was kid. At 560 "rounds" per minute I really could have unleashed rubber band hell! And what about the fake rubber hand that starts to walk when you make a loud noise?
Check Your BioRhythms
www.facade.com/biorhythm/ - Here you can enter your birthdate and receive your a free chart of your biorhythms along with a few paragraphs of explanation as to what they mean. It's all supposed to be about the cycles of your emotional, intellectual and physical highs and lows. One interesting thing you can do is compare your biorhythms to any one in a large list of celebrities. I'm not sure just how scientific biorhythms are, but at this site there are many links to other sections with new agey sounding titles like numerology and bibliomancy. There's even a link to a section that will flip a coin for you.
Make Your Own Stuff
www.make-stuff.com/ - Make your own aftershave, shampoo, lip balm, cough remedies, mouthwash, household cleaners, car wax, skin cream, on and on it goes. You'll never go the supermarket again (except to buy the ingredients to make this stuff).
Spice Up Your Cooking
http://apinchof.com/ - Maybe you don't have time to take an Asian cooking class, A Pinch Of... is a great place to learn about cumin, saffron, and cardamom, the essential spices of this cuisine. If you're more in the mood for Italian, the article "Endless Pesto Possibilities" might be more your speed. Search on any spice to discover its origins and uses, and to snap up a sample recipe.
Magical Places Photo Tours
www.earthwisdom.com/ - This site features some pretty amazing photo tours from magical places around the world that the site owner has visited. It's a pretty graphic-heavy, so you may have to wait a bit for the photos to load, but nature lovers and history enthusiasts will find it well worth the wait.
Send Faxes by E-mail
www.tpc.int/faxbyemail.html - I know I've advertised a free fax service before that turned out to be a real fizzer. I've tested this free fax service and was most impressed. Simply go to the site, follow the simple instructions and you're done. My fax turned up at my office within ten minutes, courtesy of Victoria University who participate as part of the free worldwide fax program. One can never be sure how long these free services will last, so make the most of it while you can.

Cyberspace News Snippets

General

File-Swapping Sites Multiply Despite Legal Tangles: The number of file-swapping, or peer-to-peer, Web sites, has grown more than five-fold in the past year, a study said on Monday, despite legal efforts by Hollywood, music companies and software firms to shut them down. Click here for more.

Six Arrested Over Nigerian E-mail Frauds: Six people were arrested in South Africa last weekend on suspicion of being involved in the infamous Nigerian e-mail and letter fraud. Four of those detained were Nigerian, one was Cameroonian, and the sixth was South African. South African police believe that the six people are part of an international fraud and drug-dealing cartel, and have been sending out many thousands of e-mail and letters in an attempt to defraud. Click here for more.

New Zealand Slips in e-Government Stakes: New Zealand has slipped five places to 14th in an international survey of progress towards e-government by global consulting firm Accenture. But the introduction of a new whole-of-government web portal could push us back up the rankings. Click here for more.

New Zealand Domain Name Seller Defies Ban : A New Zealand-based domain name registrar says a company that was banned from selling dot-NZ names to local businesses is busy registering names through its automated system. Pdom.com said Melbourne, Australia-based Internet Name Group is registering domain names for clients through its online automated registration process. Click here for more.

The War in My Inbox : There’s a war going on in my inbox. It’s not too serious. The casualties so far are just my business and my reputation. But the war is coming to your inbox, too. Click here for more.

US Users Make Life-Changing Decisions Online: Americans are increasingly using the Internet to search for information on life-changing decisions such as job training, health care, and education. 14 million American Internet users who have undertaken education courses or career training in the past two years, says their use of the Internet was either crucial or important in upgrading their skills. Click here for more.

Revisiting ‘Star Wars’ Science : OK, so maybe lightsabers couldn’t work the way they seem to work for Obi-Wan Kenobi ... maybe those landspeeders rely on a technology that’s on the very edge of believability ... and the starfighters certainly wouldn’t make zooming noises in space. But scientists say there’s still a lot to be learned from the “Star Wars” sagas, even if the science isn’t quite right. Click here for more.

Windows Wire

XP Updates Start to P.O. Users: One of the purported user-friendly features of Microsoft's new operating system is turning out to be user-annoying. As many as three times a week, on average, XP users see a little window pop-up at the bottom of their computer screens announcing the availability of another new update for their system. Click here for more.

Yet Another Six IE Bugs: Microsoft urged Windows users to download a fix for Internet Explorer on Wednesday, following the company's announcement that six new flaws had been found in its Web browser. The software giant called three of the flaws critical, but only one of them--a cross-site scripting error that affects only Internet Explorer 6.0--would allow an attacker or a worm to run a program on the victim's computer. Click here for more.

What Does It Take to Beat Microsoft?: Giants like AOL, Palm, and Sony have tried and flailed. But that doesn't mean it can't be done. Some little guys are actually sticking it to Microsoft now - and what they've learned can mean as much to your business as it does to theirs. Click here for more.

MacNews

Unix-Based Apples: Apple says that over 46 percent of Apple Developer Connection members are Unix or Java programmers. Over three million Macs with Mac OS X have shipped to date, making Apple the number one supplier of Unix-based systems in the world, Apple says. . Click here for more.

Apple 'Bundle' Creates a Rumble: A New product announcements from Apple are often greeted with unabashed glee from Mac users, and it was no different last week when Apple CEO Steve Jobs said that the company would soon release an instant-messaging client called iChat. Click here for more.

Security and Safety

Top 10 Security Tips: Learn what you can do to protect your computer. Click here for more.

The Penguin Roars

Kapiti Wheys in With Linux : Kapiti Cheese is integrating its manufacturing and financial operations and putting the lot on Linux. Click here for more.

Richard Stallman's Biography: One of the most controversial figures in GNU/Linux circles and arguably the most important has just had a biography published about him. Click here for more.

The Weird Weird Web

Net Stalking Needs Tougher Action Says Chatroom User: Internet crime is not taken seriously enough, says a Blenheim net addict who received death threats from a fellow chatroom user. Angie Hunter contacted the internet site provider NZDating and the police after being threatened by a "real sick puppy" in an internet chatroom. Click here for more.

Pope Gives Internet His Blessing: Pope John Paul is putting his faith in the Internet. In his weekly address at St. Peter's Square Sunday, the 81-year-old Pontiff said: "I've decided, therefore, to propose a big new theme for this year: "The Internet -- a new forum for proclaiming the Gospel." The leader of the world's Roman Catholics didn't say how much he practices what he preaches -- for instance, whether he surfs the World Wide Web. He doesn't have his own e-mail address... Click here for more.

If Star Wars Featured a Rugby Match: In an office far, far away and many moons ago, Planet Rugby came up with their ultimate Star Wars XV. Now sadly our filing system has been as effective as a Scout Walker on Endor and we can no longer find the original. Nevertheless, with a new film due out shortly we thought we'd come up with a new Star Wars XV. . Click here for more.


Bringing It All Back Home

Well, each month usually finds me scratching my head for newsletter content. I was pleased that this month articles just seemed to turn up from nowhere, and we ended up with quite a bumper issue. Thanks for visiting and I hope there was something of benefit for you here.

Always remember your questions and comments about the newsletter are more than welcome.

Please be aware that I have a pretty steady workload and I can't always respond very quickly with advice on problems. You'd do better to e-mail the help desk on support@actrix.co.nz. If you have Accounts-based queries, I'm not at all the person to ask them about. Try accounts@actrix.co.nz.

Take care through June,

Rob Zorn
editor@actrix.co.nz
http://editor.actrix.co.nz