Online column

A weekly tech column written for The Southland Times, a company that pays well enough to keep me in handbags and Drambuie

Sympathy for the scammed

Sympathy for the scammed

(This is the Online column, written for The Southland Times) The news that someone in Cromwell fell victim to one of the many cold-calling scams doing the rounds at the moment is a timely reminder that we need keep our wits about us, both online and off. Many online Southland Times readers weren’t particularly sympathetic on reading about the victim losing a whopping $4000, but I can’t help feeling sorry for them: not everyone...

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The stench of oversharing

The stench of oversharing

(This is the Online column, written for The Southland Times) During a chat about the perils of Facebook this week, a workmate reminded me of the old saying that compares houseguests and fish, but I reckon the internet has given Benjamin Franklin’s famous quote even more oomph. The United States founding father and inventor of the lightning rod and bifocals said that both fish and visitors stink after three days but I suspect that...

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An intrusion by the boss

(This is the Online column, written for The Southland Times) Is your boss your Facebook friend? Do you want the person who oversees your work also having an overview of your private life? While chatting with a friend this week, she commented that her boss has friended all the staff at her office and not everyone was happy about it. However, they faced a dilemma: do you reject the boss’s friend request and put...

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Quite a display for April Fool’s Day

Quite a display for April Fool’s Day

(This is the Online column, written for The Southland Times) I managed to get through April Fool’s Day pretty much unscathed, unless you count a slightly demented cat trying to ankle tap me from under the bed as an April Fool’s Day prank. Avoiding the many and varied pranks that populated the internet wasn’t really particularly difficult, since I spent most of the morning stretched out on the couch reading, making the most of...

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Even the weather app throws up its hands

Even the weather app throws up its hands

(This is the Online column, written for The Southland Times) It’s been an interesting start to autumn so far, with the new season appearing to arrive hand-in-hand with winter. This follows on from our remarkably summer-ish spring and a decidedly “a bit of everything” summer so who knows what we’ll get by the time the calendar says winter is here; perhaps a tropical cyclone and a heatwave? Even the weather man seems to be...

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Wise up about smartphone security

Wise up about smartphone security

(This is the Online column, written for The Southland Times) I it’s safe to say we are all a lot more clued-up when it comes to online security than we were a few years ago, but what about when it comes to our favourite little mini gadgets? Kiwis are keen on smartphones, tablets and the like, but according to the security gurus at Symantec, we aren’t so quick to keep them safe. This year’s...

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Thanks for the extra, but not to Xtra

Thanks for the extra, but not to Xtra

(This is the Online column, written for The Southland Times) It’s bad enough that so many Xtra email addresses have been compromised but the fact that Yahoo, the company responsible for managing that email system, won’t even give an answer on how many accounts is nothing short of arrogant. If you have an email address of any description, it’s likely you have been affected in some way by the Xtra email dramas: either your...

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Inspiring, uplifting content

(This is the Online column, written for The Southland Times) Over recent months, I have made it my mission in life to spend five minutes online every morning before I start work, finding something that will brighten my day. Sometimes it feels like the internet is little more than a gathering place for every negative/ sexist/racist/homophobic/douchey person in the world to spew forth their venom so it’s a breath of fresh air to find...

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Being disconnected has its advantages

Being disconnected has its advantages

(This is the Online column, written for The Southland Times) Technology is supposed to make life easier but sometimes it feels like it’s just making it more complicated. We’re all so connected now that it’s hard to shut off: our cellphones mean we get calls anywhere and any time, and social media means our every movement can become public knowledge. I’m still no big fan of cellphones but can appreciate the usefulness of the...

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‘Tis the season for giving (and receiving)

‘Tis the season for giving (and receiving)

(This is the Online column, written for The Southland Times) Since it’s the season of goodwill to all men, I will flex my festive tolerance levels and include businesses in that warm, fuzzy equation, too. For now. Like many people these days, if I need to contact a business my first port of call is the company’s official website. However, I’m not so keen on filling out contact forms on sites because more often...

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