2020 Newsletter: 3/34 — PreviousNext — (Attach.)

Sydney Harbour

Hello and Welcome,

Meetings This Week:

Tuesday Forum - Tuesday Jan 21st - 9:30 am (10:00 am meeting start) - 12 noon

“Introducing the new Microsoft Edge:

Referred by Jeff Garland: See the download page for Microsoft Edge.

“It's time to expect more.

World-class performance with more privacy, more productivity, and more value while you browse.

Microsoft Edge is optimized for Windows 10.

Microsoft Edge is now available on all your devices, and automatically syncs your passwords, favorites, and settings.”


Jeff suggests that we download this released copy of Edge for Windows 10 and compare it with other versions already on our hard disk.

Plus the usual Q&A and other discussions.

Digital Photography - Friday Jan 24th - 9:30 am (10:00 am meeting start) - 12 noon

Hear about all the newest digital photography topics.

And, of course, there will be the usual Q&A and other discussions.

Meetings Next Week:

Main Meeting - Tuesday Jan 28th - 5:30 pm (6:00 pm meeting start) - 8:00 pm
Penrith Group - Saturday Feb 1st - 2:00 pm - 5:00 pm

Current & Upcoming Meetings:

1 2020/01/04 - 14:00-17:00 - 04 Jan, Saturday - Penrith Group
2 2020/01/10 - 09:30-12:30 - 10 Jan, Friday - Friday Forum
3 2020/01/10 - 12:30-15:30 - 10 Jan, Friday - Communications
4 2020/01/14 - 17:30-20:30 - 14 Jan, Tuesday - Programming
5 2020/01/18 - 13:30-16:30 - 18 Jan, Saturday - Web Design
6 2020/01/21 - 09:30-12:30 - 21 Jan, Tuesday - Tuesday Forum
7 2020/01/24 - 09:30-12:30 - 24 Jan, Friday - Digital Photography
8 2020/01/28 - 17:30-20:30 - 28 Jan, Tuesday - Main Meeting

9 2020/02/01 - 14:00-17:00 - 01 Feb, Saturday - Penrith Group


Tech News:


See The Verge article by Tom Warren | @tomwarren | Jan 14, 2020, 8:00am EST.

An end of the traditional Windows era

Today is a big day for Windows. Microsoft is dropping support of Windows 7, nearly 11 years after first launching the operating system with a flashy New York City marketing campaign. "I'm a PC, and Windows 7 was my idea" was the message back then, a clear nod to the fact that it was designed to fix the Windows Vista failure. Windows 7 certainly did fix things, with its new task bar, Aero window management, file libraries, and much more.

Windows 7 became so popular, in fact, that it took Windows 10 nearly four years just to pass it in market share. Even today, millions of PCs are still running Windows 7, and the operating system still runs on a massive 26 percent of all PCs according to data from Netmarketshare. Microsoft spent years trying to get people to upgrade to Windows 10 free of charge, but tens of millions of PCs will now be left vulnerable to exploits and security vulnerabilities.

Businesses and education Windows 7 users will be able to pay for extended security updates, but it could be a costly venture for some. Extended updates for Windows 7 Enterprise is approximately $25 per machine, and the cost doubles to $50 per device in 2021 and again to $100 in 2022. It's even worse for Windows 7 Pro users, which starts at $50 per machine and jumps to $100 in 2021 and $200 in 2022. These costs will naturally vary depending on the volume of PCs in use at a business, but they're still going to be substantial for larger firms.

Microsoft is easing these costs with a free year of post-retirement updates to Windows 7 customers with active Windows 10 subscriptions. That hasn't made a big dent in Windows 7 market share recently, though.

Microsoft has been notifying Windows 7 users throughout 2019 about today's end of support, so people still stuck on the OS can't say they haven't been warned. A full-screen notification will appear for Windows 7 users on Wednesday, warning that systems are now out of support. Microsoft is trying to convince existing users to upgrade to machines running Windows 10, a trend that caused the global PC market to have its first year of growth since 2011.


Despite the end of support, Windows 7 looks like it has some life left in it yet. It could take another year or two to get Windows 7 firmly below 10 percent market share, especially when Google is committing to support Chrome on Windows 7 until at least the middle of 2021. That presents Microsoft with some headaches for ongoing support. We've already seen the software giant break with tradition multiple times for Windows XP, issuing public patches for the operating system after its end of support date. Given the increases in ransomware attacks in recent years and their devastating effects, it's likely we'll see public Windows 7 security patches in the future.

Read more »

“Microsoft will be carbon negative by 2030”:

See the Microsoft Blog by Brad Smith — President | Jan 16, 2020.

The scientific consensus is clear. The world confronts an urgent carbon problem. The carbon in our atmosphere has created a blanket of gas that traps heat and is changing the world's climate. Already, the planet's temperature has risen by 1 degree centigrade. If we don't curb emissions, and temperatures continue to climb, science tells us that the results will be catastrophic.

As the scientific community has concluded, human activity has released more than 2 trillion metric tons of greenhouse gases into the Earth's atmosphere since the start of the First Industrial Revolution in the mid-1700s. Over three-quarters of this is carbon dioxide, with most of this carbon emitted since the mid-1950s. This is more carbon than nature can re-absorb, and every year humanity pumps more than 50 billion metric tons of additional greenhouse gases into the air. This isn't a problem that lasts a few years or even a decade. Once excess carbon enters the atmosphere it can take thousands of years to dissipate.

The world's climate experts agree that the world must take urgent action to bring down emissions. Ultimately, we must reach "net zero" emissions, meaning that humanity must remove as much carbon as it emits each year. This will take aggressive approaches, new technology that doesn't exist today, and innovative public policy. It is an ambitious — even audacious — goal, but science tells us that it's a goal of fundamental importance to every person alive today and for every generation to follow.

Microsoft: Carbon negative by 2030

While the world will need to reach net zero, those of us who can afford to move faster and go further should do so. That's why today we are announcing an ambitious goal and a new plan to reduce and ultimately remove Microsoft's carbon footprint.

By 2030 Microsoft will be carbon negative, and by 2050 Microsoft will remove from the environment all the carbon the company has emitted either directly or by electrical consumption since it was founded in 1975.

We recognize that progress requires not just a bold goal but a detailed plan. As described below, we are launching today an aggressive program to cut our carbon emissions by more than half by 2030, both for our direct emissions and for our entire supply and value chain. We will fund this in part by expanding our internal carbon fee, in place since 2012 and increased last year, to start charging not only our direct emissions, but those from our supply and value chains.

Read more »

“A rare event: Microsoft patches are surprisingly stable”:

From ASKWOODY — ASKWOODY ALERT! by Woody Leonhard | ISSUE 17.1.1 | 2020-01-11.

It's highly uncommon for AskWoody to go to MS-DEFCON 5 — the lowest threat level.

But a confluence of few December patches (because most of Microsoft was on vacation) and an unusually high level of patch quality make this an ideal time to get all your machines caught up.

It's also a good time to upgrade, too. I'm now recommending that all Windows 10 customers move to Version 1903 — if you haven't already. The patching debacles of September and October seem to have subsided, and 1903 has one important new feature that you'll want.

If you're already on the latest version, Win10 1909, don't panic. There's at least one significant bug in it that has me skittish — but if you've already learned to work around the problem, or you've simply ignored it, you'll be fine. There's no need to try to roll back to Version 1903.

For those of you still on Windows 7, which gets its last security patch on January 14, there's also no reason to panic — no matter what you may have read. As we've said many times, Win7 will continue to work, even if you don't jump through the hoops and pay the fee for extended support. (We'll be covering that topic extensively in Computerworld and AskWoody over the coming weeks.) Susan Bradley has already started a no-bull Windows 7 FAQ series on askwoody.com.

Look for step-by-step details about applying the December patches in my Computerworld column. Discussion and commiseration — free, as always — on the AskWoody Lounge.

Fun Facts:

“An Odd/Even PARADOX”:

Last week's puzzler:

Consider the set of all positive integers: { 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, … }.

It is an infinite set of both odd and even numbers. Every odd number is followed by an even number. That's evens: 1 to 2.

What if we show the set as { 1, 3, 2, 5, 7, 4, 9, 11, 6, … }, that is, two odd numbers followed by an even number?

All the numbers eventually appear in the list, so we're not losing any from the set.

But look what happens to the proportion of evens to all the numbers: Two odds for every even. The proportion is now evens: 1 to 3.


The crux of the matter is the infinite size of all these sets.

The positive integers are an infinite set. So are the evens as well as the set of all odd numbers.

Does that mean that ∞ = ∞ + ∞ ? Well, yes. That's why ∞ cannot be used as if it's a normal number.

Thus we need to be very careful handling infinity.

A good place to start is to read the 20-page PDF article "To Infinity and Beyond: A Historical Journey on Contemplating the Infinite" written by Amanda M. Akin in 2017.

The Conclusion of the article:

Mathematicians have been positively perplexed by the infinite for centuries. The idea of the infinite contradicts everything we find to be true about nature, logic, intuition, and reason, for it behaves in a way that cannot be easily described. It is a subject that demands bold ideas, creative thinking, and struggle. "From time immemorial, the infinite has stirred people's emotions more than any other question.

Hardly any other idea has stimulated the mind so fruitfully. Yet, no other concept needs clarification more than it does". The infinite causes us to stretch our imaginations, stumble in the dark, and sometimes arrive at beautiful, revolutionary ideas. In their search for the infinite, many mathematicians have stumbled upon remarkable ideas and theories. The development of infinity reminds us as humans to not be afraid of the vast unknown and to not shy away from the bigger ideas. Thinking about infinity has caused us to think bigger about mathematics, and mathematics has become all the more beautiful as a result.


“The Euler ('Oiler') Brick”:

Leonhard Euler (15 April 1707 — 18 September 1783), was a Swiss mathematician, physicist, astronomer, geographer, logician and engineer.

The brick, named after him, is a rectangular cuboid whose edges and face diagonals all have integer lengths. A primitive Euler brick is an Euler brick whose edge lengths are relatively prime. See the Wikipedia reference.


The definition of an Euler brick in geometric terms is equivalent to a solution to the following system of Diophantine equations:

a2 + b2 = d2
a2 + c2 = e2
b2 + c2 = f2

where a, b, c are the edges and d, e, f are the diagonals.


The smallest Euler brick, discovered by Paul Halcke in 1719, has edges (a, b, c) = (44, 117, 240) and face diagonals (d, e, f ) = (125, 244, 267).

Some other small primitive solutions, given as edges (a, b, c) — face diagonals (d, e, f), are below:

( 85, 132, 720 ) — ( 157, 725, 732 )
( 140, 480, 693 ) — ( 500, 707, 843 )
( 160, 231, 792 ) — ( 281, 808, 825 )
( 187, 1020, 1584 ) — ( 1037, 1595, 1884 )
( 195, 748, 6336 ) — ( 773, 6339, 6380 )
( 240, 252, 275 ) — ( 348, 365, 373 )
( 429, 880, 2340 ) — ( 979, 2379, 2500 )
( 495, 4888, 8160 ) — ( 4913, 8175, 9512 )
( 528, 5796, 6325 ) — ( 5820, 6347, 8579 )

Generating formula

Euler found at least two parametric solutions to the problem, but neither gives all solutions.

An infinitude of Euler bricks can be generated with Sounderson's parametric formula. Let (u, v, w) be a Pythagorean triple (that is, u2 + v2 = w2.) Then the edges:

a = u|4v2 - w2|, b = v|4u2 - w2|, c = 4uvw give face diagonals:

d = w3, e = u(4v2 + w2) and f = v(4u2 + w2).

There are many Euler bricks which are not parametrized as above, for instance the Euler brick with edges (a, b, c) = (240, 252, 275) and face diagonals (d, e, f ) = (348, 365, 373).

Does a perfect cuboid exist?

A perfect cuboid (also called a perfect Euler brick) is an Euler brick whose space diagonal also has integer length. In other words, the following equation is added to the system of Diophantine equations defining an Euler brick:

a2 + b2 + c2 = g2

where g is the space diagonal. As of January 2020, no example of a perfect cuboid had been found and no-one has proven that none exist.

However, exhaustive computer searches show that, if a perfect cuboid exists, the odd edge must be greater than 2.5 × 1013 and the smallest edge must be greater than 5 × 1011.

Maybe try out some coding experiments?


Bob Backstrom
~ Newsletter Editor ~

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