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.
Welcome to the February Actrix Online Informer
Welcome everyone to another month and another Actrix Online Informer. The year is now well and truly underway, and summer should start any day now. We hope you had a good break and that you're now back in the swing of things, with 2012 shaping up to be a good year.
This month's video feature is a great example of the fine line between genius and just a little bit crazy. Theo Jansen is a kinetic sculptor who makes some rather impressive creatures out of PVC-pipes and plastic bottles. His sculptures harness the power of the wind and walk on their own (that's the genius part). However his vision of setting these sculptures free and living on through them after he dies is just a tad wacky in a charming way. It's life, Theo, but not as we know it!
by Rob Zorn
This month we present you with some of the best free software you can download and install on your computer. Everything in this list is completely free. Some are trial versions that have their own options to upgrade to the complete version, but everything should be of some value. All of these programs run on Windows, but many are compatible with Macs and some even suitable for any Linux users out there.
Some of these are useful, some will save you time and money, and some are just toys. Who doesn't like free stuff?
But please note you always download from the Internet at your own risk. And here at Actrix we can't offer support for any of these programs. That said, any problems you may encounter would probably be answered with a simple Google search.
A further word of warning!
When you see the word "FREE" on the internet you might be a little suspicious, and rightly so. Some sites will offer you something for free, only for you to find out after filling out forms and giving away personal information that it's all free but only after you've paid the one off administration fee. Other sites load free downloads with malware and spyware that infect your systems and compromises your security.
Make sure your computer's anti-virus and anti-spyware programs are always running and don't download anything that's remotely suspicious. Try Googling the name of whatever you want to download. Chances are you're not the first person to come across it, and there's bound to be information around on whether it's safe.
And now for the free stuff!
Lavasoft (Antivirus & Antispyware)
Another two free security downloads suggested by our Help Desk are Malwarebytes and Microsoft Security Essentials. Both of these are effective protection programs, keeping your computer free from viruses, trojans and spyware.
VLC Media Player
Freemake Video Converter
Copernic (PC search engine)
Clementine (Music player)
Sweet Home 3D
MyActrix Managing your Actrix account
The 'Manage your account information' feature of My Actrix allows you to interact directly with our database and change your contact details. If you've moved or changed your PO box you don't need to call the help desk (though you're always welcome to), you can just log in here and update the details yourself. Log in to My Actrix at the Actrix home page.
If you find you're regularly going over your allowance and being rate limited or charged for excess usage you might need to think about upgrading. For information on our current plans and how to change just click here.
For more tips and tricks click here for an Actrix Online Informer article about MyActrix.
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!
Cyberspace news snippets
What's been happening in the online world?
Crims caught out online: A brassy burglar seemed to have got away with a Christmas daylight robbery – till 11,000 Facebook users joined forces to catch her. Click here for more.
Fewer complaints about daily websites: A "growing tide of complaints'' about daily deal websites has abated but both the industry and the Commerce Commission are claiming credit for the improvement. Click here for more.
'Skynet' notices lack mandatory details: Efforts by the music industry to crack down on internet piracy have suffered a setback after it emerged that some copyright infringement notices issued to internet users under the controversial "Skynet" law may not be worth the paper they are written on. Click here for more.
Hackers put NZ information at risk: A data breach at a private American intelligence company has put the credit card information and personal details of several New Zealand companies and government agencies at risk. Click here for more.
The social web's news picks of 2011: Here are some of the stories from the New Zealand Herald site that were among the most shared, liked, tweeted and clicked on by social media users in 2011. Click here for more.
Most Googled food in NZ this year: Google have just released the list of the top ten foods searched for in NZ this year. Click here for more.
NZ river wins best satellite photo award: A satellite image of a twisting Canterbury Plains river has beaten images of flooding in Australia, Palm Island in Dubai, Ground Zero in New York and protests in Egypt to be dubbed the satellite picture of the year. Click here for more.
Kiwi's software wows Google, Nasa : What began as a side project has gone global after a New Zealand student's software was picked up by Google and NASA. Click here for more.
Internet overuse could cause brain damage: A recent study by researchers in China showed that too much internet usage - to the point that it's an addiction - can cause structural damage to your brain. Click here for more.
Amazon gets on board with movie system: An Amazon.com executive says the retailer has signed a deal with a Hollywood studio to sell movies that can be downloaded from an online "locker" system. Click here for more.
YouTube eyes gadgets, channels to boost viewers: YouTube is looking to increase viewership on its online video service by making the service available on an array of connected devices and by adding new content. Click here for more.
World's thinnest wire a quantum leap forward: Australian physicists have invented the world's narrowest silicon wire - 10,000 times thinner than a human hair - with the same capacity to conduct electricity as a traditional copper wire. Click here for more.
Snapped: camera thieves meet their match: A Melbourne man had given up the idea of getting back his stolen camera when he discovered a website that can locate any camera based on information stored in online photos. Click here for more.
Five tech trends to watch in 2012: 2012 promises to be a very busy year in all things digital, but, as with any annum, there will be just a handful of big, memorable trends. Click here for more.
Dutch court orders ISPs to block Pirate Bay: A Dutch court has ordered two major internet service providers in the Netherlands to block their customers from accessing The Pirate Bay website or face large fines. Click here for more.
Bidding starts on next-gen domain names: Bidding will soon begin for words and brand names such as ".sport," ".NYC" and ".bank" to join ".com" as online monikers. Click here for more.
Vatican.xxx web address snatched up: The Vatican has confirmed an unknown buyer had snapped up the internet address vatican.xxx, a domain combining its name with an extension reserved for pornographic content. Click here for more.
Most pirated movies of 2011: We usually rely on year-end box office numbers and movie critics to determine which films most captivated our hearts and attention, but cinematic demand can also be seen by looking at the most illegally downloaded movies of the year. Click here for more.
Web domains to get major overhaul with custom names: It is now possible to register almost any word as a web address suffix. Familiar endings like .com and .org could potentially be joined by the likes of .pepsi, .virgin or .itv. Click here for more.
Man suing Facebook fined $5000 by court: A man who is suing for part ownership of Facebook has been fined US$5000 (NZ$6273) for failing to fully comply with a court order to give experts access to his email accounts. Click here for more.
Facebook advertising sparks backlash: Facebook advertising has ramped up a step, as sponsored stories begin to appear in users' news feeds. The adverts, marked "featured", pop up in the same way a post from a friend or group would. Click here for more.
Twitter lashes out at Google search changes: Twitter has lashed out at changes Google unveiled for its search engine, describing the changes as "bad" for consumers and for web publishers. Click here for more.
Facebook hacked by Ramnit worm: More than 45,000 Facebook accounts have been hacked using the Ramnit worm, which had been used to steal names and passwords from the accounts, which were held by people mostly from Britain and France. Click here for more.
Google gets more personal with searches: Google is sifting through the photos and commentary on its blossoming social network so its Internet search results can include more personal information. Click here for more.
Facebook's newest frontier: inside the car: At restaurants, at movies and at the office, checking Facebook has become a regular habit for many of the Internet social network's more than 800 million users. Now that habit has reached a new frontier: the automobile. Click here for more.
New Facebook app lets dead live on: If I Die is a Facebook app that makes sure, even if you die, your social self can still send out your last wishes and post messages to your friends years after you're gone. Click here for more.
Father heard of son's murder on Facebook: A British police force has apologised after it confirmed that the father of an Indian student shot dead in Manchester found out about his son's murder on Facebook. Click here for more.
What your Facebook pic reveals: The crux item on your Facebook page is, of course, your profile photo. It's the telling image that accompanies your every post, summing you up in one revealing thumbnail. Click here for more.
Better tweets needed in 2012: Celebrities may resist the urge to send a stream of consciousness on Twitter in the new year, after famous people tweeted their way into trouble on everything from boxer briefs to breastfeeding in 2011. Click here for more.
Need a new kidney? Try Facebook: Facebook and other social media sites are quickly becoming a go-to place to find a generous person with a kidney to spare, according to the people asking for help and some national organisations that facilitate matches. Click here for more.
Twitter 'failing' on child abuse, Ceop watchdog warns: The Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (Ceop) has urged Twitter to address its fears that some paedophiles use the site to discuss abuse and link to pornographic images. Click here for more.
Facebook 'dead by morning' post alerts police: A Utah woman used Facebook to seek help after she and her 17-month-old son were held hostage at a residence for nearly five days, police said. Click here for more.
Why Facebook's finally getting religion on the privacy issue: Facebook is going to start giving its members more of a say in how their personal data is used, thanks to some pressure applied by Irish and U.S. authorities. Click here for more.
Indonesian charged with blasphemy for atheist post: Indonesian police say a civil servant who posted "God does not exist" on Facebook faces a maximum penalty of five years behind bars for blasphemy. Click here for more.
YouTube hits four billion daily video views: YouTube, Google Inc's video website, is streaming four billion online videos every day, a 25 percent increase in the past eight months, according to the company. Click here for more.
Can you count on your Facebook friends in a crisis?: Young adults may have a lengthy roster of social networking friends, but a new survey suggests many have little confidence those friends will support them in times of great need. Click here for more.
Twitter much more than social says Doresy: Twitter is much more than a social network and has no time to waste worrying about newcomers like Google+, says co-founder Jack Dorsey. Click here for more.
Security and Safety
Cyberbullying a problem around the globe: More than 10 percent of parents around the world say their child has been cyberbullied and nearly one-fourth know a youngster who has been a victim. Click here for more.
Alert over mobile phone hijacking flaw: Flaws in the technology powering most mobiles could allow hackers to gain remote control of phones and instruct them to send text messages or make calls, according to an expert on mobile phone security. Click here for more.
Cyber attacks could wreck world oil supply: Hackers are bombarding the world's computer controlled energy sector, conducting industrial espionage and threatening potential global havoc through oil supply disruption. Click here for more.
Cyber criminals launch underground search engine : A new service aims to be the Google search of underground websites, connecting scammers to a vast sea of web forums that offer an array of dodgy goods and services, from stolen credit card numbers to identity information and anonymity tools. Click here for more.
Xbox assembly workers in China threaten mass suicide over jobs dispute: Dozens of workers assembling Xbox video game consoles climbed to a factory dormitory roof, and threatened to jump to their deaths, in a dispute over their jobs. Click here for more.
Microsoft security – you've come a long way, baby: Microsoft products are much more secure than they were 10 years ago, security experts say. Click here for more.
The Year of Microsoft: How the former tech giant can reclaim its throne in 2012. Click here for more.
The Weird, Wide Web
The reel cost of broken hearts: Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned! A Waikato teacher is selling her ex-boyfriend's GPS fishing co-ordinates on Trade Me, hoping the co-ordinates will be bought by a "nice guy" who deserves them more than her ex-boyfriend. Click here for more.
File-sharing recognised as official religion in Sweden: All around the world file-sharers are being chased by anti-piracy outfits and the authorities, and the situation in Sweden is no different. While copyright holders are often quick to label file-sharers as pirates, there is a large group of people who actually consider copying to be a sacred act. Click here for more.
Food company to help pets lose weight: The world's biggest food group Nestle has launched an online programme inviting pet owners to team up with their furry friends to lose weight. 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.
FBI warns of assassin spam scam twist: The FBI is warning of a new twist in the saga of scam emails that suggest a "hitman" is on the trail of the recipients. Click here for more.
Music industry threatens ISPs over file sharing: The music industry has opened up a new front in the war on online music piracy, threatening to sue internet service providers that allow customers to illegally share copyrighted tracks over their networks. Click here for more.
How the net changed the ancient art of the con: As well as creating new forms of criminal activity, such as spamming, the rising importance of computer networks has witnessed many forms of traditional crime reappearing under slightly different guises. Click here for more.
Spam surge drives net crime spree: The tussle between computer security companies trying to protect your PC and the bad guys that try to compromise it is often characterised as an arms race. Click here for more. Click here for more.
Online sites offer help for holiday grief: As excitement over the holidays builds so does the dread for millions of people grieving loved ones, sparking a rush to websites offering advice on how to cope with what can be a blizzard of emotions. 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. The best place to send requests for support is the Actrix Help Desk (firstname.lastname@example.org) or to the Accounts Department (email@example.com).
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