July 07 Topics
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"Don't anthropomorphise computers. They don't like it."
July 07 Topics
"When I took office, only high energy physicists had ever heard of what is called the Worldwide Web... Now even my cat has its own page."
July 07 Topics
"Maybe in order to understand mankind, we have to look at the word itself:
'Mankind'. Basically, it's made up of two separate words - 'mank' and 'ind'.
What do these words mean ? It's a mystery, and that's why so is mankind."
July 07 Topics
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.
Actrix - New Zealand's first Internet Service Provider
Welcome to another Actrix Online Informer. This month we continue our feature on backing up your e-mails and other important documents. We also include all the other regular neat stuff like Interesting sites, Readers' forum and Cyberspace news snippets.
Don't forget that all the main articles and forums from past Online Informers (since 1999) are archived in alphabetical order in printer-friendly versions. In case you miss the link over to the left of the page you can access that archive here.
Each past full edition is also archived in the column to the left, so there's never any excuse to be bored or uninformed!
I hope you find something useful or entertaining in this month's offering.
Last month we looked at some ways to back up your e-mails and other stuff. We looked at how to find important files on your hard drive, and how to save them onto a portable zip drive or hard drive. If you missed that article, you can find it here.
For the sake of brevity in what was quickly becoming a long article, we stuck pretty much to backing up your emails in Outlook Express. This month we'll look briefly at how to do it in Outlook, and, as promised, we'll look at some online automatic backup services.
Backing up e-mails and settings in Microsoft Outlook
There's good news and bad news when it comes to backing up Outlook files, but the good news is that most of it's good news. While Outlook Express saves all your individual mail folders as individual .dbx files, Outlook saves all your email and settings (folders, address book and all) in one big file ending in .pst. This file will be called Outlook.pst. The bad news is that because it's all wrapped up together you have to back up the lot rather than just the email folders you want (if you're doing it manually).
The manual way
As we mentioned with Outlook Express last time, finding this .pst file might be the biggest challenge, but it should be at the end of a pathway similar to this one:
C:\Documents and Settings\Editor\Local Settings\Application Data\Microsoft\Outlook.
Open Windows Explorer by right-clicking on your Start button and left-clicking on Explore. Have a look through the folder list and follow the pathway above (You'll probably have something different where I have “Editor” until you find the folder with Outlook.pst in it.
Also as we mentioned last time, you may have to make sure your files and folders aren't hidden before you can find this folder. To unhide your files, go to Control Panel/Folder options/ and select the View tab. Make sure the dot is in the "Show hidden files and folders" radio button.
If you can't find your Outlook.pst file manually, you can set Windows to search for it, but again, your files must be unhidden, or Search won't find them. Right-click on your Start button and select Search. Put *.pst in the "File or Folder Name" field (the * indicates we're looking for all .pst files) and select My Computer in the "Look in" field. Click Search, and Windows should grind away until it finds and displays the folder containing your .pst file. Make a note of where it is so you can find them more easily next time.
To back the file up, simply right-click on it and copy it to memory. Next, scroll down your folder list and right-click to paste it to you portable flash or hard drive. If you ever need to restore it, say after a crash, just reverse this process and copy it back from your portable drive to your the folder it was in.
While you're there, also backup the Archive.pst file if one exists. This file will hold all your old archived mail if you have auto-archive turned on in Outlook, and most people do by default.
The Outlook way
The even better news is that Outlook actually comes with a feature allowing you to back up your e-mail directly from within the program. It's the Import and Export Wizard, and it will let you back up selected folders rather than the whole lot. The steps for using this are as follows:
To restore your e-mail back into Outlook, you sort of do all this in reverse:
Automatic off-site back-ups
We also looked last time at how to move the files you want to back up onto a portable flash drive or hard drive. As we noted this is all very well, but may not be of much help if you lose your computer in a fire or have a visit from an efficient burglar.
The best and most convenient way of backing up your important files is to use a remote back-up service. It gets rid of the need for a portable drives altogether, and the need to manually take stuff to another location.
You simply download the program from the Internet and schedule it to backup your most important files whenever and as often as you'd like. It then zips them up to reduce size and encrypts the data before uploading it to the service's remote servers. Whenever you need to restore something, you can use the program to browse your online files and download whatever you need back to your machine.
The first upload is usually a biggie, and can take quite some time (up to a day or more if your connection is slow) but once the first one is up, the programs will only upload backups for files that have changed – so subsequent uploads are much smaller and quicker, and will probably only take a few minutes.
Mozy (www.mozy.com) and IDrive-E (http://www.idrive.com/) are based in the U.S, and they're much of a muchness in terms of comparison. Each offers a free service of up to 2 Gigabytes, probably enough for most of your important stuff, and you can upgrade to unlimited storage for US$4.95 per month.
Each has an Explorer-like interface which immediately presents a folder tree featuring My Documents, your favourites and settings, and the folders for whatever e-mail programs are installed, so selecting files to back up is a snap. Each interface is also really good for letting you see exactly how much space you've taken up on the servers, and the procedure for scheduling backups is a breeze. These two certainly get top marks for ease of use.
Digivault (www.digivault.co.nz) The problem with these free remote backup services is that they are based overseas which means your data has to be piped across cables under the Pacific increasing the amount of time required.
The Digivault service offered by Wellington-based Digerati means that your backup data is stored here in New Zealand which is going to save a lot of bandwidth time. It also provides the opportunity to support something local, and means getting help should be easier if things go wrong.
Digivault offers a free Gigabyte of storage for 15 days. If you want to upgrade, you can do so by using the website's Contact Us link, and the cost is $1NZ per Gigabyte per month. Since most people won't need more than a few Gigabytes of space, this service will probably work out cheapest of all. Another advantage is that Digivault will bill you monthly by e-mail so you don't have to hand over your credit card details unless you want to, and you're not subject to exchange-rate fluctuations.
The online interface isn't quite as slick as some of the overseas offerings, but it is still pretty straightforward and easy to use. After each successful upload, Digivault sends you a summary e-mail telling you exactly what was uploaded, which files have changed since last time and how much space you're using.
There's a handy PDF user guide available in the support section of their website.
Okay, so we're just now heading into the coldest part of the year, and not many of us are going on holiday (unless we're heading somewhere tropical that's not Fiji). Even so, the Actrix vacation messaging system has its uses.
You can set up or remove vacation messages on your Actrix e-mail address at any time. Even if you're just going to be away from your e-mail for a few days, a vacation message is a great way to let your correspondents know why you aren't replying to them.
The Actrix vacation message system sends an automated reply message to incoming e-mails and you can completely customise what that message says. You can also change an existing message (using the edit function) or delete the message at any time to return things back to normal.
Even though your correspondents receive the message from you, their incoming e-mails still arrive in your inbox and will be waiting for you when you return.
The system will work on both main e-mail addresses and mailboxes, but you can set it up so that the message comes from your domain name, if you have one associated with your e-mail address.
However, setting up vacation messaging won't work if you've got CyberFilter. If you do, you need first to log into My Actrix/CyberFilter/Options and disable CyberFilter. Then go set up your vacation message. Once you no longer need the vacation message, disable it before logging back into My Actrix and re-enabling CyberFilter.
You can access the vacation messaging service under our main menu by clicking
Residential/Email/Vacation Messaging, or just click
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).
Joe writes: Your comments on saving e-mails interested me, at present I Save As to a file outside Outlook Express so that the saved e-mails do not clutter up Outlook Express. It works for me! but I would like to see other ideas..
Hi Joe, Thanks for mentioning this. Yes, clicking the Save As link under the file menu is a fine way to save occasional e-mails, and you do have the added advantage of browsing to save each one exactly where you want to. This will save the emails in .eml format (Outlook saves them in .msg format) though you may also have the option of saving them as .txt or .html files. The .eml can be easily opened again by simply browsing to them and double-clicking. When you do that, Outlook Express should simply fire itself up with your selected e-mail open and ready to read or reply to. It's a good method for occasional saves of necessary correspondence but could get pretty labour intensive if you have lots of e-mails to save.
Ron writes: Good Evening Ed. I have heard that dialup is more secure than broadband (for banking etc ). As dialup uses the phone line, is it possible to have both dialup and broadband and use them both at once from the same phone line? I have used you service many years ( I think about 8 ) and am most happy with it.
Hi Ron, I'm not so sure that dialup is any more secure for online banking than broadband. When it comes to online banking it's far more important that you use good passwords and don't respond to fake e-mails from purported banks than whether or not you use dialup or broadband. Also, the big threats to your passwords are Trojans or viruses that might log your key strokes and send what they capture home to their evil masters, and this a threat to any internet user, regardless of how they connect.
A firewall, such as the one that comes standard with Windows, will help protect against this. Banks encrypt the connection between you and their servers so that any information passed between you cannot be read by a third party, and this also applies regardless of your connection type.
In short, I wouldn't worry too much about whether you connect to the bank on dialup or on broadband, as long as you're engaging in safe computing in those other respects.
That said, yes, ADSL splits your phone line and uses the top half (higher frequency) for the broadband internet and the bottom half for phone calls. Since a dialup connection is technically a phone call, you could do both at the same time if you had broadband.
(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? Click here to e-mail and let me know!
|100 words every high school graduate should know
www.houghtonmifflinbooks.com/booksellers/press_release/100words/ - The editors of the American Heritage Dictionaries have compiled a list of 100 words they recommend every high school graduate should know. "The words we suggest," says senior editor Steven Kleinedler, "are not meant to be exhaustive but are a benchmark against which graduates and their parents can measure themselves. If you are able to use these words correctly, you are likely to have a superior command of the language."
www.modernmaneater.com/ - When you die, do you want your life-force to vanish or do you want to pass it on to your children and their children? Instead of putting your body in the ground, or burning it away, the people behind this site will convert the minerals and proteins in your body into pills containing vitamins, minerals, and food additives that can "strengthen your entire family for years to come!" Apparently the site isn't a joke and the service is seemingly legal (in a roundabout sort of way). Do you feel a hundred pecent?
|Scary hole on Mars
http://antwrp.gsfc.nasa.gov/apod/ap070528.html - Black spots have been discovered on Mars that are so dark that nothing inside can be seen. They're almost perfectly round, and almost perfectly cut. This proves something. The photo featured is by NASA, and it's not a fake. "Quite possibly," says the site, "the spots are entrances to deep underground caves capable of protecting Martian life, were it to exist."
| Daily jigsaw
http://www.jigzone.com/daily-jigsaw.php - Though I'm not a big jigsaw fan, I found putting together a Ferrari flag puzzle a surprisingly compelling way to eat up 15 minutes on a calm and cold Queen's Birthday holiday morning. Yes, I know the fastest time was a lot quicker than 15 minutes, but you see, I'm not a Ferrari fan either.
www.mr-lee-catcam.de/pe_catcam1.htm - Mr Lee hung a camera around his cat's neck and the camera took a picture automatically every 2.5 minutes. This really helps understand where cats go and what they do (and who they visit). It's sort of like a feline Day in the Life... Find out more about the project at http://www.mr-lee-catcam.de/index.htm.
http://www.jonmiles.co.uk/fingerjig.php - "Fingerjig is a 6 minute game that tests your typing prowess. Words are randomly chosen from a dictionary of over 70,000. You must try to type them as quickly and accurately as you can! Typing fast will rack up points but keep an eye on how many mistakes you're making." I really didn't think I was as bad as that...
|World's famous photos
www.worldsfamousphotos.com/ - Some are beautiful, and some are quite disturbing. This is a collection of the world's most famous photos. Each has a story behind it that has contributed the the way we are and the way we see the world. You can click each one to read a bit about the background. There's a decent collection already, and it looks like more will be added over time.
|World peak oil clock
http://www.peakoilclock.com/images/poc2.swf - Two things immediately strike you about this dynamic clock. First there's the incredible amount of oil that exists. We've got billions and billions of barrels in reserve. The second thing is the incredible rate at which we're using it. Watch the consumption countdown and tremble!
http://www.deathonline.net/movies/mm/autopsy.cfm - I guess the reality is that this will happen to many of us one day, so we might as well know about it. This simulation takes you through the stages of what happens during an autopsy, starting with the external examination and moving to the Y shaped cut, and the removal and examination of our inside bits and pieces. It's done pretty tastefully - as much as that's possible, anyway.
www.halfbakery.com/ - The Halfbakery is a database of original, fictitious inventions. You can become a member and contribute if you like, or just browse the ideas. Some are great and some are, well, "half baked". It was created by people who like to speculate, both as a form of satire and as a form of creative expression.
Kiwis keen to Google bomb recipes: Internet users in Auckland and New Plymouth are the keenest in the world to find recipes for making bombs, according to a leading counter-terrorism expert. Click here for more.
Retailers deny that internet shopping is a threat - yet: Getting up early for a garage sale is one of the great New Zealand Saturday pastimes. But garage sales, second-hand bookshops and even purveyors of new goods have discovered a real rival in internet trading. Click here for more.
NZer scores $6.5m top price in tech auction: New Zealander Juliette Harrington has sold her United States patent for one-stop internet shopping for £2.5 million ($NZ6.55 million) at a London auction of intellectual property. Click here for more.
Reveal secrets or be caught in the net - employers: Employers are trawling through popular websites such as Google and MySpace to check the backgrounds of candidates applying for jobs. Click here for more.
NZ internet speed 'a baby's crawl': New Zealand's slow internet speeds are threatening to leave the nation out of the global economy, one of the web's founders says. Click here for more.
It's time to finally fell the Telecom Goliath, David: Haven't we heard that before - the deny and delay mantra the company has blathered at us for the past 15 years. Click here for more.
Broadband for all on agenda: New Zealanders are likely to get a legal entitlement to broadband under a proposal for a new, contestable Kiwi Share agreement that Communications Minister David Cunliffe expects to put in front of the Cabinet by the end of the year. Click here for more.
Coping with death on the web: It increasingly acts as an outlet for mourning in developed societies but how far can the internet intrude on a very private experience? Click here for more.
US arrests internet 'spam king': A man nicknamed the "spam king" for allegedly sending out millions of junk e-mails has been arrested in the US. Click here for more.
Rebooting the Web 2.0 age: The future of the web is being debated at Reboot 9.0, a leading European grassroots technology and design conference in Copenhagen. Click here for more.
"Pyjama army" destroying internet?: Internet culture, often portrayed as the vanguard of progress, is actually a jungle peopled by intellectual yahoos and digital thieves, according to a Silicon Valley entrepreneur-turned-dissenter. Click here for more.
Google Shortens Hold Time on User Data: From now on, or at least until another government complains, Google will anonymise its search server logs after 18 months. Click here for more.
Aussie website helps bring US paedophile to justice: A tip-off by an Australian internet company has rescued an 11-year-old boy in the US who was being sexually exploited on the internet by a male guardian. Click here for more.
Internet breathes life into dying languages: Endangered languages like Welsh, Navajo and Breton have regained speakers and popularity in their communities and are now even "cool" for kids - thanks to the Internet. Click here for more.
Rock star says piracy battle is lost: Major record labels are still fighting the piracy battles of 1997 according to a leading rock musician and digital rights activist. Click here for more.
'World's most hated blogger' hiding out in Australia: A failed real estate speculator who created a popular website touting his exploits has begun threatening to sue his critics and claims to be in hiding in Australia. Click here for more.
Half of Britons 'e-mail addicts': Half of Britons could not exist without e-mail - with 30 or 40-somethings more addicted than teens, a survey finds. Click here for more.
Warnings of 'internet overload': As the flood of data across the internet continues to increase, there are those that say sometime soon it is going to collapse under its own weight. But that is what they said last year. Click here for more.
Investigators find secret White House email accounts: The Committee of Oversight and Government Reform has released its initial findings after investigating the use of parallel email accounts by officials in Bush's White House. Click here for more.
We're all celebrities in post-privacy age: We all have celebrity issues in an age when anyone can create an online profile, post confessional videos on YouTube, or make snarky online comments about other people. Click here for more.
Helping the web become world wide: Although the web has permeated almost 250 nations, everywhere from Ascension Island to Zimbabwe, the language of online life is by no means as diverse. Click here for more.
Internet users living secret lives online: As many as 17 per cent of Irish males and 13 per cent of females claim to be secretly ashamed of things they have done online, a new study indicates. Click here for more.
Dolphin and friends help protect children from internet sharks: Sprat the fish is part of the online cartoon series Hector's World, launched yesterday, which aims to educate children as young as 2 about internet safety. Click here for more.
Children 'meet net friends often': Many children are meeting up with people they first encountered on the internet - and their parents know nothing about it, a study claims. Click here for more.
Spyware mum foils pervert: Keylogging software helped a UK mum warn police about a US-based predator who was grooming her 15-year-old son for child abuse. Click here for more.
The Most Dangerous Words on the Web: You run a four percent chance of picking up spyware or a computer virus if you go to site you find on a web search engine. It's getting better, but there's still a lot of nasty stuff out there. This according to the newest survey by McAfee, Inc., the maker of antivirus software. Click here for more.
FBI tries to fight zombie hordes: The FBI is contacting more than one million PC owners who have had their computers hijacked by cyber criminals. Click here for more.
Italian Job 'most widespread malicious software attack using websites ever': In an Internet attack dubbed "The Italian Job," several thousand Italian tourism Web sites have been infected by software that quietly gains control of computers visiting them and seeks out confidential financial data, a computer security firm said on Monday. Click here for more.
Authorities investigate online 'hitman' scams: Peter McGlothin didn't know what to think when he first got the e-mail with a bounty on his head. "[It] is a pity that this is how your life is going to end," the e-mail said. Click here for more.
Apple announces windows browser: Apple has launched a version of its web browser Safari for Windows, competing head to head with Microsoft's Explorer and Mozilla's Firefox. Click here for more.
Insecure plug-ins pose danger to Firefox users: A security weakness in the update mechanism for third-party add-ons to the Firefox browser could give an attacker the ability to exploit unsecured downloads and install malicious code on the victim's computer, a security researcher warned on Wednesday. Click here for more.
Firefox the third: Firefox, the most popular web browser after Microsoft's Internet Explorer, will get its beta test release at the end of July, but the latest Alpha 5 release shows the direction the new browser is taking. Click here for more.
Linux plots counterattack on Microsoft: The high priests of free software have congregated at Google headquarters this week to debate the future of the movement and face down recent patent threats by Microsoft. Click here for more.
Chinese Internet addict kills mother over cybercafe money: A teenage boy in southern China, "heavily addicted" to the Internet, killed his mother and severely injured his father with a kitchen knife after he was refused money to go to a cybercafe, state media said on Thursday. Click here for more.
Digital data can bite you in the ass, researcher warns: When security consultant Dan Klein was culling decades-old snapshots for his digital scrap book, he specifically omitted photos taken during his college years, when some of his behaviours weren't exactly role-model material for his offspring. Click here for more.
Hello stranger, are you sick enough for me?: Lonely hearts with health conditions such as cancer, herpes, irritable bowel syndrome and allergies are turning to a specialised online dating service in their quest to find love. Click here for more.
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.
Computer fraud on the rise: experts: Cyber-savvy NSW police were being trained in the use of sophisticated technology to crack down on computer fraud, experts said today. The rate of computer fraud in Australia was on the rise and would soon rival that of the United States, Detective Inspector Bruce Van Der Graaf of the NSW Computer Crime Unit said. Click here for more.
IM, Therefore I'm Hacked: While instant messaging can result in greater productivity and cost savings for corporations that are increasingly embracing real-time communication, the technology is also synonymous with getting hacked or receiving a virus. Click here for more.
When Spam Policing Gets Out of Control: Anyone who's had an e-mail account for more than a week knows the extent spam has permeated the Internet lifestyle, but the actions of over-zealous "spam cops" are shutting down and taking off-line hundreds, perhaps thousands, of legitimate businesses. Click here for more.
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. Non-forum requests for support should go to the Actrix Help Desk (firstname.lastname@example.org) or to the Accounts Department (email@example.com).