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"You know you're a geek when... You try to shoo a fly away from the monitor with your cursor. That just happened to me. It was scary."

- Juuso Heimonen

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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.

Questions and comments about the Actrix Online Informer can be e-mailed to editor@actrix.co.nz
Other inquiries should be e-mailed to support@actrix.co.nz.

Actrix - New Zealand's first Internet Service Provider

Welcome to the February Actrix Online Informer!

Welcome to the February Actrix Online Informer.

I guess for most of us the holidays are over and we're back at work. If so, I hope you did manage to get a good break and that 2008 is shaping up to be an awesome year for you and that you've learned to cope with the guilt of not having kept any of those new year's resolutions. You can always try again next year.

Rob Zorn

Blogging the limelight 

We did an introductory article on blogs (Every Man and His Blog) back in November 2005, where we looked at how the blog (short for 'web log') has become one of the latest and most significant Internet-based phenomena. Purportedly, a new blog is created every second!

At their simplest blogs are like online diaries, but they usually contain opinion as well as personal news, and often they are dedicated to a theme. Bloggers usually try to write daily, or at least regularly, and it's usually their ability to provide a mix of intelligent opinion, news and personality (without becoming banal) that make them so compelling. You can be reading about a blogger's opinion on suicide bombers at one moment, and about the adventures of their cat at the next.

There are various ways of accessing blogs. In most cases you can just go to the blogger's website every day to read whatever is new, and whatever comments other readers have left. Sometimes you can subscribe to email lists so that you're informed whenever there are new posts, or you can use what's called a newsreader programme which will automatically download the blog behind the scenes while you work on other things. The latest version of most browsers will also act as newsreaders. You can read more about automatic blog feeds (RSS) here.

Blogs have become widely popular both overseas, and here in New Zealand, so this month we'll have a look at some of the more popular ones people are reading.  And if you read one regularly (whether from New Zealand or overseas) feel free to let me know, and we can look at including a few more over coming months.

Russell Brown's Hard News is one of New Zealand's most read blogs. Russell is a New Zealand journalist and Hard News grew out of his "radio rant on Auckland student station 95bFM in 1991 because he felt there werenít enough voices like his in the media." In November 2004 he told The Listener: "Mine is a personal diary as well. I might occasionally write about what I had for dinner or whether Iíve got gout. Thatís the joy of it. The defining characteristic of a blog, if itís done properly, is that you point people to other places. I really liked the idea of being able to direct people to source material. Not just to tell them things, but also to say, 'Look, you go and work it out for yourself.'"

www.publicaddress.net/hardnews

Cracker, by Damian Christie, is one of my favourites. Damian is best known as a Wellington-based Close Up journalist and his blog is always written with flair and good humour, whether it's about his views on the anti-smacking bill, or his experiences being strip-searched by a friendly Samoan customs officer at Auckland airport. Do I always agree with him? Absolutely not, but that's not important. In fact I imagine the blogs people enjoy most are the ones they disagree with.

www.publicaddress.net/cracker

Kiwiblog, by David Farrar, is a politically-oriented blog. David is known for his centre right views and for calling a spade a spade, even if not everyone always agrees that the item in question is, in fact, a spade. He's also very prolific - often posting several times each day. Farrar was once vice-president of the Internet Society of New Zealand, InternetNZ, and is currently director of the New Zealand Domain Name Registry Ltd. Kiwiblog apparently receives three to four times more comments than any other blog in New Zealand.

www.kiwiblog.co.nz/

Poneke is another Wellington-based journalist-type blogger. He (or she)'s a relatively new guy (or gal) on the blog block, but is already generating a substantial number of readers.  The aim of the blog is to present a personalised, eclectic mix of essays with a literary journalism bent; media criticism; and breaking news on important and not-so-important issues. Above all, Poneke is a skeptic, which usually means there's a willingness to ask some difficult questions and not be satisfied with 'pat' answers. Check out the post on Sensing Murder.

http://poneke.wordpress.com/

Spare Room describes itself as "a selection of New Zealand weblogs with smart-humour, opinion and entertainment, written by Ana Samways and Steven Shaw." All sorts of things get posted, and the blog is rarely serious and frequently irreverent. I know several people who visit this blog first thing each morning. Lots of videos and pictures are featured.

www.spareroom.co.nz/  

Aardvark Daily claims to be New Zealand's longest-running online daily news and commentary publication, now in its 11th year. It's written by Bruce Simpson and you may remember him being in the news a year or two back for attempting to build a DIY cruise missile in his garage for less than $5000, and using only "off-the-shelf" technology. Anyone like that has got to be interesting. Bruce used to just write about science and tech stuff, but his blog has become a lot more varied of late.

www.aardvark.co.nz/

Blog Central: You have to take your hat off to Stuff which is Fairfax's attempt not to get left behind as more and more attention is shifted towards online news sources. As a result the Stuff site has a whole section dedicated to blogs on various topics, from Reuben Schwarz's tech blog Cool Kit, to Bridget Saunders' About Town (if you're into the glitterati-related goss). There were 31 separate blogs at last count and just about every topic is covered. You're bound to find something of interest there.

www.stuff.co.nz/blogs.html

NZ News may the sort of blog you want to keep in mind if you regularly travel overseas and get a hankering for news from home. It's regularly updated with a good number of posts everyday. Lots of links to New Zealand sites are provided in a column to the left.

http://newszealand.blogspot.com/

100 Words: "Too many blogs are just too long. A 2000 word essay on someoneís barely thought through political views or their description of their trip to the shops is more than I can bear to read. Short posts tend to be little more than the written equivalent of reading a newspaperís headlines out loud. Is it possible to have an interesting blog with short posts only? I thought Iíd have a go. Iíll stick to one rule on this blog Ė posts of no more than 100 words. Letís see how long before I lose interest."

http://100wordblog.wordpress.com/

Kiwiology is a directory of kiwi blogs - the stuff that makes up the New Zealand blogosphere. Blog topics include, but are not limited to: New Zealand blogs, Kiwis blogging overseas, blogs about New Zealand politics, the environment and sustainability in New Zealand (or by people based in New Zealand), New Zealandís economy, Kiwi businesses and business topics, New Zealand issues and current events and kiwisí personal blogs. Heaps of blogs are featured.

http://kiwiology.com/

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Extra email addresses 

Most of the Internet plans offered by Actrix come with more than one email address. Our Cyberbyte 30, 150 and Flat Rate and CyberJet accounts all come with five mailboxes, which means you have extra email addresses at your disposal if you want them. One email address will be created automatically with your account and will be formed from your account user name, but if you'd like more email addresses (e.g. for your partner or children), you will have to set these up yourself. If you want more than five, or if you're on the Cyberbyte One account, they cost $5.00 each per month.

The good thing is that email programs, such as Outlook and Outlook Express, allow you to check and use more than one email address at a time, and it's not hard to get this feature working. Each mailbox will hold up to 100 Megabytes of email, which is a fair bit, and you can also purchase upgrade to more space if you need to.

To set up another email address (e.g. mysonjohn@actrix.co.nz), you first have to create with Actrix a mailbox with the user name of the email address you want to use (in this case, "mysonjohn"). You add mailboxes to your account under the My Actrix log in at the main Actrix website. Log in using your main account user name and password. Click My Services in the horizontal menu at the top of My Actrix, and then click Actrix Mail in the drop down menu. The Actrix Email Administration page will then tell you how many mailboxes you have, and what their names are, and how many more you can create.

Click the Add an Email address button to create a new mailbox. You'll be asked to add the user name you want (just put in [for example] mysonjohn, rather than mysonjohn@actrix.co.nz) and to type in the new password for the mailbox before clicking Add Address. The system will tell you if that user name is already in use, and let you try a different option if needed.  If your new user name isn't already in use by someone else, the system will inform you that your new mailbox has been successfully added. Your new mailbox should be live and ready to receive email within 15 minutes or so.

The next step is to set up your email program so that it checks the new email address. We'll include some instructions for Outlook Express. If you're an Outlook user, the method will be similar, depending on your version.

  1. Start Outlook Express, and on the Tools menu, click Accounts.
  2. Click Add, and then click Mail to open the Internet Connection Wizard.
  3. On the Your Name page of the wizard, type your name as you want it to appear to everyone who gets e-mail from you, and then click Next. Most people use their full name, but you can use any name – even a nickname –that people will recognise.
  4. Type your e-mail address, and then click Next.
  5. On the E-mail Server Names page, POP3 should be selected by default as your incoming server type. If it isn't, select POP3. Put pop3.actrix.co.nz into the Incoming mail server field and smtp.actrix.co.nz into the Outgoing (SMTP) mail server field, and then click Next.
  6. On the Internet Mail Logon page, type the user name and password for the new email address.
  7. Click Next, and then click Finish.

You can use this procedure to add an email account to Outlook Express for the first time, or to add a new one which Outlook Express will now also check each time it does a "Send and Receive".

If you're setting up Outlook Express to be checking two (or more) email accounts, you will also want to be able to choose which address to send an email from at any given time. From now on, when you open a new email, you should see that a "From" field now appears at the top. Outlook Express will add this automatically whenever it has more than one account to deal with. To the right of this new field you should see a little down arrow. Clicking the down arrow will drop down a list of available email addresses. Simply click the one you want to send from.

It's that easy!

You can also set the default email address to the one you use most often, so that most of the time you won't have to click the down arrow. To set your one of your email addresses as the default, Click Tools and then Accounts. Select the email address you want to use as the one that comes up first and then click the Set as Default button to the right. If that button is greyed out, then the selected email address is already set as the default.

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Readers' forum 

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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Carl writes: Dear Rob, We are kiwis living abroad. We were sitting round the table and discussed the options of having a search engine just for kids. Why can't Google come up with a search engine that all sites are registered and checked to be safe for our kids I know it is a big ask, but surely "Google kids" or "Google Safe" would be an option to keep most, if not all, of the nasties away from our kids and our computers. Food for thought. Kind Regards, Carl

Hi Carl, yes, the idea has merit. Of course Google does have a safe search option that you can set under preferences. This will filter out explicit language and images. By default it's set at moderate safe search which removes potentially offensive images, but you can set it to "Strict", which filters out explicit content as well. The problem is kids can always change the settings when they're using the computer themselves.

There are some search engines set up especially for kids such as OneKey, Yahooligans and SafeKids, but again the problem is making sure the kids just use those ones, even when you're not around to supervise. Some people, therefore, choose to use a program such as Net Nanny or Cyber Patrol (and there are a few others). These sit behind the scenes, and can't be switched off (unless you know the password) and will restrict what content comes up in searches or web browsing, no matter what engine is used.

I would also be remiss if I didn't mention that Actrix also provides the CA Security Suite to customers at a reasonable cost. Among lots of other security and safety features, there's the ability to set parental controls to keep offensive content out.

--

Phil writes: I have found Cyberfilter to be a very useful feature. Is it possible to configure Cyberfilter so that e-mails can be sorted by the SPAM icons also? It would be great to sort that way as it would be much quicker to scan through for those rare e-mails that are wanted which Cyberfilter has held.

Brian Dennehy from the Actrix help desk responds: Currently CyberFilter does not have the option to sort emails based on whether or not they have been flagged as possible Spam. However, we are always looking at improvements that could be added to our products, and yours is in the mix for the next time our techies give this some attention.

You have complete control over your lists through an admin interface in My Actrix.

  • White List: These addresses can send to you freely, and you will receive the e-mails straight away.
  • Black List: These addresses can not send e-mail to you, if they do it is deleted on our servers before it gets to your mailbox.
  • Grey List: People not on your White or Black lists will get an auto-response asking them to verify their identity. If they do, they are added to this list and you will receive their e-mail.

You can find out more at: www.actrix.co.nz/page.php?id=68.

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David writes: When I receive an email with photographs or other items included and I forward the message on, the photos etc do not go with the email but instead come out as an outlined square with a cross in the corner. Do you have and ideas why?

Hi David, This is most likely caused by an incorrect setting which causes Outlook Express to include a link to the picture in the message rather than actually sending the picture itself. A link is fine when the picture resides on the Internet, but when someone has sent you a picture, that picture actually now lives on your PC and the person you're sending it on to can't access your machine to see it.

To correct the problem:

  1. Launch Outlook Express.
  2. Select Options from the Tools menu.
  3. Click the tab labeled Send.
  4. Click the upper of the two buttons titled HTML Settings.
  5. Put a check in the box labeled Send pictures with messages.
  6. Click OK, and OK again.

That should do the trick

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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? Click here to e-mail and let me know!

The best things in life are free
www.jamesshuggins.com/h/mot1/best_things_in_life.htm - Oh yes they are, and here's a list someone has put together of their "best things." How many more can you think of? Feel free to send them in to the site's creator!
Easy fixes for eight common kitchen mishaps
www.realsimple.com/realsimple/gallery/0,21863,1108432-1,00.html - You intended to boil those perfectly shaped new potatoes just until fork-tender. But when you drained them, they collapsed into mush. All is not lost. In fact this site helps with solutions to this and similar problems, so your dinner party guests believe you meant to cook that way the whole time.
The best 'best of' lists of 2007
http://culturite.wordpress.com/2007/12/15/the-best-best-of-lists-of-2007/ - Here's a quick compilation of some of the most interesting 'Best of 2007' lists. Categories include: Best Websites, Best Albums, Best Careers, Most Hated Companies, Best Products, 22 Best Music Videos, Best Books, America's Best Restroom, and even best Japanese Buzzwords! Of course there are many, many more.
Mother Goose rhyme secrets exposed
www.rooneydesign.com/MotherGoose.htm - "There are reasons behind those rhymes. You've probably recited the Mother Goose nursery rhymes dozens of times. But do you know what they mean? Find out the surprising, grown-up stories behind these childhood rhymes. The truth will shake your tailfeathers. And if you're really sharp, or really bored with a lot of time on your hands, you might spot the goose in each illustration."
Cadaver calculator
www.justsayhi.com/bb/cadaver - "So you've bitten the big one and instead of pushing up daisies your loved ones decided it would be best to sell your body to science. This survey will tell you approximately how much money they'd get for it. Cadaver values are primarily based on overall health and the level of interest your corpse holds to the medical research industry."
Dead people server
http://dpsinfo.com/dps/2007.html - We're not deliberately carrying on the death theme here, but this site is also interesting. It provides a quick summary of all the famous people who died during 2007 by month. Date of birth, what they died of, and what each is famous for are also listed. A menu at the bottom lets you browse other years, or by name.
Best free and freeware software for Windows
www.freeware-software.org/ - "This is a bigger and more complete collection of the free programs available to Windows users than we featured last year. Available software is listed in categories including Office/PDF, Graphics, Internet, Multimedia, Security, and Tools & Utilities. A link to the download page is also provided for each program.
Darwin Awards 2007
www.darwinawards.com/darwin/darwin2007.html - The Darwin Awards are named after evolutionary theorist Charles Darwin. Awards are given for people who do a service to Humanity by losing their ability to reproduce. It is for people who kill, or in rare cases, sterilise themselves accidentally by attempting to do stupid feats thus helping to ensure the long-term survival of the human race by removing themselves from the gene pool in a "sublimely idiotic fashion".
Where to go in 2008
www.nytimes.com/2007/12/09/travel/09where.html - Here's a site from the New York Times that should really get your travel bugs itching. There are 53 featured in all, each with a quick summary. Most allow you to click the title and see a dedicated travle guide for that location which includes more information and often a movie or slide show of some of the sites.
Rules of thumb
http://rulesofthumb.org/ - "The goal of this website is to gather every rule of thumb on earth into one gargantuan, easily searchable online reference database that will be accessible from anywhere in the world and continue to grow forever." There are a 150 categories of generally helpful rules of thumb. Did you know for example that a city street is most visually appealing if its width is the height of the buildings along it? or how about the fact that people are generally willing to walk 7 minutes to visit McDonalds which is why its restaurants are always 14 minutes walk apart in any given city?

 

Cyberspace news snippets

What's been happening in the online world?

New Zealand

Hutt firm leads the way with revolutionary hi-tech cable: A joint venture to manufacture groundbreaking high-temperature superconductor cable will solidify New Zealand's position as leader in the hi-tech industry. Click here for more.

Net users wake up to price of indiscretion: New Zealanders are employing "reputation protection" companies to eliminate inappropriate content about them on internet sites such as Facebook, fearing it could damage their employment or dating prospects. Click here for more.

Internet pushes NZ boundaries in 2007: The internet can be used for a lot of things, from harmless messages to friends and sharing of photos to the more harmful – hurting others, and even ourselves. Click here for more.

Google puts New Zealand on the World Wide Maps: Internet giant Google is filming streets in New Zealand towns – and raising privacy concerns. Google plans this year to place New Zealand streetscapes in its "Street View", a feature that created a public uproar in the United States. Click here for more.

Banks told to 'do their bit' to fight phishing attacks: New Zealand banks could protect customers from phishing attacks by making a simple change to their internet address protocols at little or no cost, says Thom Hooker, director of operations at SMX, an Auckland based anti-spam and anti-virus email service provider. Click here for more.

More Kiwis search for love on the net: A desire to find love for the new year has sparked a boom for internet dating sites. Click here for more.

Trade Me pulls hair: Trade me has pulled from sale a lock of hair purported to be from the head of Diana, Princess of Wales for breaching its rule against selling body parts. Click here for more.

Work starts on broadband slow spots: Long-awaited work on sorting out Auckland's broadband blackspots has begun. Telecom has started on a billion-dollar project aimed at increasing internet speeds. Click here for more.

General

Study: Net Tops in Research: It's no surprise that plenty of Americans do research using the Internet. In fact, a new study finds the Web has become the predominant source for many, a trend that's also revolutionizing consumers' use of libraries and their expectations for e-government. Click here for more.

Hatebook starts anti-social networking trend: Tired of phoney online friends? Make enemies instead. Riding on the popularity of social networks such as Facebook and MySpace, new websites are poking fun at online friendships that connect you to the people you like, by turning attention to the ones you don't. Click here for more.

Net surfers believe what they want: Australian research has found people searching the internet only take in what they want to read, potentially placing their health at risk. Click here for more.

Web icon set to be discontinued: The browser that helped kick-start the commercial web is to cease development because of lack of users. Netscape Navigator will no longer be supported after 1 February 2008, the company has said. Click here for more.

New Jersey bans sex offenders from the web: Convicted sex offenders who used websites to help them commit their crimes are to be banned from using the internet under a tough new measure signed into New Jersey law. Click here for more.

Inflight Internet could be 'ticklish': Seat 17D is yapping endlessly on an Internet phone call. Seat 16F is flaming Seat 16D with expletive-laden chats. Seat 16E is too busy surfing porn sites to care. Seat 17C just wants to sleep. Welcome to the promise of the Internet at 33,000 feet... Click here for more.

Ten things that will change your future: Think back to the days before the network we call the internet existed. Think back to a world before "google" became a verb, before a user-generated encyclopedia called Wikipedia replaced Britannica and before eBay turned the planet into one big garage sale. Click here for more.

Aust minister warned on porn filter plan: Australia's Labor party's plan to introduce mandatory internet filters will send Australia down a censorship path similar to China's and Singapore's, but will not stop computer-savvy children looking at banned sites, according to the NSW Council for Civil Liberties. Click here for more.

Online dating brings hope and frustration: Online dating renews women's hope in love and sex, but can be just as disappointing as the real-life dating scene, according to new Canadian research. Click here for more.

Thousands follow soldier's WWI blog: Thousands of people have been following the fate of a British soldier fighting in the trenches of World War I on a website publishing his letters home exactly 90 years after they were written. Click here for more.

Music industry boosted by online sales: The struggling music industry could be seeing the first signs of recovery with figures showing online downloads more than doubled in Britain in the last week of 2007 compared with 2006, analysts have said. Click here for more.

Email security: Where are we @?: Like many technologies that have grown by individual demand rather than organisational imposition, email crept up on corporations by stealth, becoming an essential tool before anyone cared to notice. Click here for more.

'Faster and cheaper broadband' promised in Aust: A new undersea internet cable would break open Australia's broadband market, bringing faster download times and lower prices, Australian Communications Minister Stephen Conroy said. Click here for more.

IT worker jailed for creating logic bomb: A former systems administrator at Medco Health Solutions has been sentenced to 30 months in federal prison for planting a logic bomb that could have taken down a corporate network that held personal health care information. Click here for more.

Praise the Lord 2.0: Churches across the world are able to sing the Lord's praises online after the launch of the first major digital hymn book. Click here for more.

Net plagiarism a worry for Brit teachers: More than half of British teachers in a survey said they thought plagiarism from the internet is a problem. Click here for more.

McDonald's blocks Kiwi ex-employee's blog: The Employment Relations Authority (ERA) has ordered a former McDonald's employee to stop blogging about his work place after an injunction was sought by his employers. Click here for more.

Web yields deadly tricks for crime writers: If the blood-splattered creative juices aren't flowing, the authors of crime and thriller novels are increasingly turning to the web and digging up, often by chance, the idea for their next blockbuster. Click here for more.

Online golf slicing into productivity: Whether the economy improves or weakens over the next year is anyone's guess, but here's a bold prediction for 2008: By June, white-collar productivity will fall through the floor like a Looney Tunes anvil dropped from a skyscraper. Why? Three words: World Golf Tour. Click here for more.

Social website could be linked to copycat suicides: The deaths of seven young people from the same town in South Wales could be linked to a suicide craze sweeping a social networking internet site, British police believe. Click here for more.

Rabbis play online cupid to help Jews marry: Marrying outside the faith is an issue for many in the US Jewish community who are concerned about dwindling demographic numbers, family tensions and the pressures on children pulled in different religious directions. Click here for more.

Parents crashing online party: He especially likes IMing with his grandma because he's "not a huge talker on the phone." Increasingly, however, he and other young people are feeling uncomfortable about their elders encroaching on what many young adults and teens consider their technological turf. Click here for more.

'Tech overload' can ruin relationships: Technology might be just as addictive as alcohol and drugs and could also wreak havoc with personal and work relationships, a leading expert has said. Click here for more.

Illegal downloads outnumber bought music 20 to 1: As part of its response, the industry is calling on internet service providers to take more responsibility for illegal file sharing by either disconnecting those who repeatedly upload music or preventing illegal tracks from being downloaded. Click here for more.

News of Ledger's death causes internet meltdown: Heath Ledger's death in New York two days ago caused one of the biggest internet frenzies ever, with news websites and search engines experiencing huge traffic spikes. Click here for more.

Security and Safety

Malware Now Hiding As Google Toolbar Buttons: A security researcher has discovered a rather sneaky new exploit involving the Google Toolbar, where hackers can pretend to be installing a legitimate Toolbar button item but they're really installing malicious code. Click here for more.

How to wipe personal data from cell phones, PCs: Before you recycle your old computer, cell phone or smart phone, make sure that you wipe it clean of data. If you don't, your personal life could be laid bare. Worse, you could become a victim of identity theft. Click here for more.

Cyber thieves target social sites: It is not just the average net user who is a fan of social network sites, so are hi-tech criminals. So say security professionals predicting what net criminals will turn to in 2008 to catch people out. Click here for more.

Warning on stealthy Windows virus: Security experts are warning about a stealthy Windows virus that steals login details for online bank accounts. Click here for more.

MySpace reveals child predator blocks: MySpace is mending its frayed relations with the top law enforcers of 50 US jurisdictions by beefing up measures to protect underage users from pedophiles. Click here for more.

Mystery web infection grows, but cause remains elusive: The mystery over a cluster of poisoned websites distributing a toxic malware cocktail may be better understood but it's still not solved. Click here for more.

Managing your online identity: Here's the one thing I hate about using the web - all the passwords I have to remember to access various internet services. From Facebook, Gmail and Flickr to Amazon, ASB online and my Inland Revenue account, I need to enter a password and user name to log on. Click here for more.

Social sites prove hard to leave behind: Computer science student Kris Athi got in touch with the BBC's Your News when he had problems quitting the MySpace social network. Here he tells his story to technology correspondent Rory Cellan Jones. Click here for more.

Growing virus production taxes security firms: The volume - if not the variety - of malware samples has undergone almost exponential growth over the last three years. Click here for more.

Mainly Microsoft

Gates hails age of digital senses: The way people interact with computers is going to dramatically change in the next five years, Microsoft chief Bill Gates has told BBC News. Click here for more.

EU Launches New Probes Against Microsoft: The European Commission, fresh from a major court victory over Microsoft, launched new antitrust investigations into the software giant on Monday on suspicion it abused its market dominance to favor its Web browser and Office product. Click here for more.

Microsoft warns businesses of impending autoupdate to IE7: Microsoft has warned corporate administrators that it will push a new version of Internet Explorer 7 their way next month, and it has posted guidelines on how to ward off the automatic update if admins want to keep the older IE6 browser on their companies' machines. Click here for more.

Microsoft stresses backward compatibility for IE8: Microsoft hopes to balance backward compatibility with web standards in Internet Explorer (IE) 8 by enabling a new, optional "super standards" mode in the browser, says a company official. Some web developers immediately criticised the decision, while others applauded the move. Click here for more.

Mac the News

'Mac people' more open, liberal than PC users: People who prefer Apple's Macintosh computers over PCs have long been considered to be on the artsy, hip end of the personality spectrum ó and now a study proves that "Mac people" indeed are more liberal and open-minded than average folks. Click here for more.

Unix, Linux and Open Source

Warning on Spoofed Login Windows in Firefox: A common feature on many Web sites is a pop-up dialog box where users enter their username and password. Before you enter your information in Firefox next time, you might want to think twice. Click here for more.

Red Hat and Firefox more buggy than Microsoft: Secunia has found that the number of security bugs in the open source Red Hat Linux operating system and Firefox browsers far outstripped comparable products from Microsoft last year. Click here for more.

Open source search effort starts: For many Google has solved the problem of searching the web. But not everyone is happy with the way it works and the results it gives. Here Jimmy Wales, founder of the Wikipedia encylopedia, talks to the BBC about his new venture - Wikia Search. Click here for more.

The Weird, Wide Web

Batman logo manifests in tomato: Forget Flash chip Messiahs - the hot simulacrum action right now is in tomatoes, or specifically, Batman logo tomatoes. Click here for more.

 

It was five years ago today

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.

U.S. e-mail attack targets key Iraqis: U.S. military and other U.S. government agencies have begun a surreptitious e-mail campaign inside Iraq, CNN has learned, in an effort to get some Iraqis to defy President Saddam Hussein. Click here for more.

E-mail virus picks up speed: A new virus which first appeared just before Christmas is infecting thousands of computers across the world. The spread of the Windows e-mail worm, called Yaha.K, has led anti-virus firms to classify it as a high risk. Click here for more.

Can a Human Being Fit on an IPod?: One researcher is using his MP3 player to carry around the human genome – and his collection of digital tunes. Click here for more.

Bringing it all back home

Rob ZornThanks 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 (support@actrix.co.nz) or to the Accounts Department (accounts@actrix.co.nz).

Take care through February!

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

 

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