internet

Aucklanders are doomed

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Not because of Len Brown, although that can’t have helped.  But apparently, Aucklanders are so disconnected from reality that they want Civil Defence to restore their “WiFi” before water.

In emergency situations, Aucklanders want WiFi internet restored before water, a survey revealed.

Auckland Council Civil Defence and Emergency Management (CDEM) found 48 per cent of people prioritised WiFi as an essential part of everyday life. Read more »

There is no such thing as cyber bullying. There’s just bullying

Three in five women in their late teens have been victims of online bullies, according to new research revealing an alarming number of Kiwi adults encountering the problem.

While new measures have been brought in to tackle the problem in schools, a snapshot of voting-aged New Zealanders found one in 10 people aged 30 to 59 — and a rate twice that for those in their mid- to late 20s — have experienced it.

A new survey asked around 15,000 people if someone had used the internet, a mobile phone or digital camera to hurt or embarrass them.

Rates were highest among young people — 46 per cent of all 18- to 19-year-olds, with the problem worse among females in that age group.”Women aged 18 to 19 reported the highest levels of cyber-bullying among all groups, with roughly three in five experiencing cyber-bullying,” said Harrison Steiner-Fox, who compiled the research using data from the ongoing New Zealand Attitudes and Values Study (NZAVS).

It was in step with previous research that has indicated one in three children are affected by it.

Another recent survey of nearly 750 young people aged 11 to 18, by Otago-based group Sticks’n’Stones, found 87 per cent thought cyber-bullying was an issue — and 255 had experienced it the same year. Read more »

Photo Of The Day

Photo via Gray’s Harbor County Sheriff’s Office. In a small black trashcan under the nightstand was the previous morning’s Daily World a local newspaper that served Gray’s Harbour and an empty plastic Pepsi cup. Next to it, a crumpled piece of thick white paper, no bigger than six inches wide, that read “SUICIDE” in block capitals.

Photo via Gray’s Harbour County Sheriff’s Office. In a small black trashcan under the nightstand was the previous morning’s Daily World a local newspaper that served Gray’s Harbour and an empty plastic Pepsi cup. Next to it, a crumpled piece of thick white paper, no bigger than six inches wide, that read “SUICIDE” in block capitals.

The Strange Case of the Man With No Name

In life, he was evasive and strange. In death, he became a 9/11 terrorist, a ghostly apparition and an internet superstar.

On Friday, September 14, 2001, Lyle Stevik arrived at an average motel in a sleepy, nondescript town close to Washington’s Pacific coastline. It was a typical September day: 52 degrees and drizzly. “Welcome. Surf’s Up. Life Is Good,” read the shabby sign outside the entrance to the Lake Quinault Inn, a cheerfully optimistic motto for such an ordinary place.

Stevik, who appeared to be in his twenties, did what countless guests had done before. He grabbed a pen and scribbled his details on the hotel’s registration slip:

Name: Lyle Stevik

Address: 1019 S. Progress Ave.

State: ID … Meridian

Nothing about this was exceptional, especially given the context. Three days earlier and 3,000 miles away, three planes smashed into the World Trade Center and Pentagon, killing 2,996 people, injuring 6,000 and setting off a national security crisis. 9/11 made the history books; in the isolated town of Amanda Park, 9/14 was seriously dull.

In 2001, Lake Quinault Inn was still a family affair: Barbara — affectionately known as Aunt Barb — on front desk duty, was clerk-come-manager; her nephew, Gabe, owned the motel and adjacent store. The Inn, built in the 1960s, with six rooms in the main building and two in an annex, had slid into disrepair. But to the few travelers to stay in this picturesque patch of the Olympic Peninsula, it didn’t matter. The rooms were decent enough, and, at less than $50 per night, they were the cheapest in town.

Aunt Barb gave Lyle the key to room eight in the motel’s annex, and he paid in cash. Behind it, Olympic Mobile RV Park, was a miniature metropolis of trailers, broken cars, and spare tires. Inside, furnishings included a double bed, a dusty carpet, nicotine-stained vinyl curtains, and a glass dressing table — a steal for $43.87.

Lyle returned to the front desk just 60 minutes later — flushed, agitated, disturbed. Apparently, the trailer park was too noisy. He wanted to switch rooms. Even though she had just met him, this second encounter was far more memorable. Lyle avoided eye contact; he was acting weird; he gave Aunt Barb the creeps.

She handed him the key to room five, smack-dab in the middle of the main building, overlooking a tiny car lot. It was just like room eight — the carpet dusty, the curtains stained — but Lyle liked room five. He slept there that night. And the night after.

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NZ Post manages profit, but the traditional business is crashing

New Zealand Post has announced a six month after tax profit of $110 million. But it has voiced fresh concern about its mail and parcels business.

The net profit was up 10 percent on a year ago, and included the one-off effect of the sale of its Australian subsidiary Converga.

The underlying after tax profit was $74 million, down $12 million on the same period a year earlier.

Chief Executive Brian Roche says the Kiwi Group Holdings, which includes Kiwibank, Kiwi Insurance and Kiwi Wealth is “progressing well” despite a “volatile market”.

But he says the mail and parcels result was “below expectation” and “continues to give rise to concerns as to its ongoing financial performance”.

“The postal services business continues to be challenged by tough market conditions. During the last 12 months letter volume fell by about 60 million units and while we have significantly reduced costs we have not kept pace with the rate of decline. Read more »

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Are you here for an argument?

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Good evening, and welcome to tonight’s Debate. The Moot:

THAT On balance, the Internet does more harm than good

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Can Netflix really ban proxies and VPNs?

Netflix has announced that they are going to crack down on access via VPN and proxies to their US content.

In NZ Netflix is nobbled and you can only get full service if you use a VPN or a proxy service. Some people are overreacting to the news, one being lifestyle and travel blogger David Farrar who has stated on Facebook that he has already cancelled his Netflix subscription before the alleged bans have even come into existence.

But can Netflix actually do what they say they are going do?

Experts argue that any total shutdown would be impossible.

“It’s kind of a cat and mouse game,” InternetNZ CEO Jordan Carter said.

“Each step that Netflix or other content providers take to the block things, the companies that make money by selling unblocking services will find a way around it.”

“It turns this into an arms race.”     Read more »

Turn your damn phone off

It is the holiday season and there is evidence that constantly checking your emails on your smart phone may be doing you some damage.

The secret to happiness is to turn off your smartphone email app according to psychologists, who warn that constant updates have become a “toxic source of stress”.

Technology that puts people at the continuous beck and call of their emails has created a culture where people feel they must be constantly available for work, according to research.

As a result, an “unwritten organisational etiquette” has become ingrained in the workplace and employees have developed habits which are bad for their emotional well-being.

Studies have found that continuously checking and reading emails due to a “push notification” feature, which alerts users to new messages even when they are not in their Mail app, produces tension and worry. Experts recommend that switching off the Mail app on your mobile device will alleviate anxiety.    Read more »

Almost everything bad is the (largely) unintended consequence of utopians

James Delingpole reviews Matt Ridley’s book Evolution of Everything.

[E]volution is a phenomenon which extends far beyond Darwin to embrace absolutely everything. The internet, for example. No one planned it. No one — pace Al Gore and Tim Berners Lee — strictly invented it. It just sprang up, driven by consumer need and made possible by available technology. As Ridley says: ‘It is a living example, before our eyes, of the phenomenon of evolutionary emergence — of complexity and order spontaneously created in a decentralised fashion without a designer.’

Which is what, of course, is such anathema to control freaks everywhere, from the Chinese, Iranian and Russian regimes to Barack Obama, who famously declared in 2012: ‘The internet didn’t get invented on its own. Government research created the internet.’

This claim, as Ridley demonstrates, is at best moot, at worst flat-out untrue. In fact, government was actually responsible for postponing the internet. One of its early forms was the Pentagon-funded Arpanet, which until 1989 was prohibited for private or commercial purposes. An MIT handbook in the 1980s reminded users: ‘sending electronic messages over the ARPAnet for commercial profit or political purposes is both antisocial and illegal’. Only after it was effectively privatised in the 1990s did the internet take off.

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Internet killed the Broadcast TV star

Teena Harris likes to have a movie night with her family once a week, so they can enjoy watching TV together for a change.

“What I’ve found is that now everybody has a device, you’re not sitting down like you used to,” says the 47-year-old marketing manager and mother of three.

Back in the old days – well, a year ago, actually – she says the St Heliers family used to gather in front of their 42-inch TV in the lounge and fight over which channel to watch.

“Last year we’d all sit down and watch My Kitchen Rules, but now we don’t.”

The Harris family are at the leading edge of a TV-watching revolution in New Zealand and around the world. A few years ago they watched free-to-air channels and Sky. Three months ago they dropped Sky because they weren’t watching it enough to justify the cost. The family has subscribed to Netflix, the US internet-based giant which started in New Zealand in March, and their viewing habits have almost totally switched to commercial-free online viewing.

Teena streams an episode of Netflix on the TV at night after coming home from work and doing dinner and the evening chores. Her husband Craig likes movies and documentaries and dips back into free-to-air to catch the late news.

Their 14-year-old son Sam has moved off the big screen altogether, watching action dramas like Homeland on his iPad. Daughters Sally, 12, and Molly, 9, follow the same teen dramas like Pretty Little Liars on Netflix that they used to watch on Sky’s Disney Channel.

“It’s changed from watching what’s served to you on traditional TV to going and picking what you want to watch,” says Craig. Read more »

Surely even the Russians wouldn’t be so stupid as to cut off the Internet?

They can bomb, they can annex and they can do whatever they like invading other non-relevant (non-western!) countries, but if they ever cut off the Internet, the backlash they’ll face will be unprecedented.

You can kill every day, but if you take away our Facebook, it will be the last thing you ever do.

The presence of Russian submarines and spy ships near undersea cables carrying most global Internet communications has US officials concerned that Russia could be planning to sever the lines in periods of conflict, the New York Times reported on Sunday.

The Times said there was no evidence of cable cutting but that the concerns reflected increased wariness among US and allied officials over growing Russian military activity around the world.

The newspaper quoted naval commanders and intelligence officials as saying they were monitoring significantly greater Russian activity along the cables’ known routes from the North Sea to Northeast Asia and waters closer to the United States.   Read more »