2020 Newsletter: 33/41 — PreviousNext — (Attach.)

Sydney Harbour
WEEKLY NEWSLETTER 6 - 11 JULY 2020

Hello and Welcome,

Computer Club Dues:

We respectfully ask Members whose annual memberships fall due to pay as usual.

The Club is still providing services to Members, like Zoom meetings, and technical advice through e-mail and other means.

Thank you all.

Payment details:

General — $45
Senior / Pensioner — $40
Under 21 — $25
Family (Combined rate less 20%) — E.g. two Pensioner memberships — $64

Cheque subscription payments are no longer accepted, but you may deposit cash at any NAB branch.

Bank Transfer: To "Sydney PC User Group Incorporated", BSB/Account: 082-080 579584892.

IMPORTANT: Please identify your payment with your name when making a bank transfer.

For new memberships, you can print out the Membership Form for joining at a future face-to-face Club Main meeting.

— The Club Committee.

SMSA reopening from 6 July:

“The Sydney Mechanics' School of Arts is delighted to announce the reopening of Venue Hire on Monday, 6 July.

To adhere to current social distancing guidelines, there are some venue capacity restrictions that we must temporarily observe.

All meeting rooms on Level 1 will be in Double Room configuration (walls open). We will not be offering single rooms at this time.

The maximum capacity in this space is 14 attendees in total. If your event is usually held in a single room, you will not incur any extra charges due to this room configuration.

There will be an attendance register for all hirers to sign inside each room, where attendees are required to record their name, e-mail address and phone number for risk management purposes.”


Meetings This Week:

Friday Forum - Friday, 10 Jul - 9:30 am (10:00 am meeting start) - noon

Rooms are available for this meeting.

Communications - Friday, 10 Jul - 1:00 pm - 3:00 pm

Rooms are available for this meeting.

Meetings Next Week:

Programming - Tuesday, 14 Jul - 5:30 pm (6:00 pm meeting start) - 8:00 pm

We will be running this meeting using Zoom; details later by e-mail.

Web Design - Saturday, 18 Jul - 1:30 pm (2:00 pm meeting start) - 4:00 pm

We will be running this meeting using Zoom; details later by e-mail.

Current & Upcoming Meetings:

45 2020/07/04 — 14:00-17:00 — 04 Jul, Saturday — Penrith Group
46 2020/07/10 — 09:30-12:30 — 10 Jul, Friday — Friday Forum, L1 Woolley + Lawson Rooms
47 2020/07/10 — 12:30-15:30 — 10 Jul, Friday — Communications, L1 Woolley + Lawson Rooms
48 2020/07/14 — 17:30-20:30 — 14 Jul, Tuesday — Programming SIG, L1 Woolley + Lawson Rooms
49 2020/07/18 — 13:30-16:30 — 18 Jul, Saturday — Web Design, L1 Woolley + Lawson Rooms
50 2020/07/21 — 09:30-12:30 — 21 Jul, Tuesday — Tuesday Forum, L1 Woolley + Lawson Rooms
51 2020/07/24 — 09:30-12:30 — 24 Jul, Friday — Digital Photography, L1 Woolley + Lawson Rooms [ Discontinued ]
52 2020/07/28 — 17:30-20:30 — 28 Jul, Tuesday — Main Meeting, L1 Carmichael + Dowling Rooms

ASCCA News:

“ASCCA July Newsletter and Digital Photography News”:

Greetings to all,

Both the July ASCCA Newsletter and the final details for the ASCCA Digital Photography competition are attached or are available at www.ascca.org.au. You will find direct links from the home page.

Even though the challenges of COVID-19 still surround us, most clubs are planning for the future. However, it is still the time to take care, stay safe and keep connected!

  • In this issue, it has been revealed that there will be a new section in the ASCCA Digital Photography Competition 2020 — you will have the opportunity to be a judge and help select a People's choice for each of the categories. Photographs will be available for your perusal and selection after the closing date in September.
  • Did you know that it is five years since we have had an eSafety Commissioner to empower all Australians to have safer, more positive experiences online?
  • More Online Training courses — thanks, Jean. Jean Martin has established a Help Desk on (02) 9922 5408, Tuesday and Thursday, from 9 am — 5 pm AEST.
  • The National COVID-19 Coordination Commission (NCCC) has prepared a planning tool which will assist you in developing a plan for your club.
  • Learn about LifeTimeLine — where you can tell your life story through photographs.
  • I'm sure that you often check the Stay Smart Online website to inform yourself about their new programs.
  • Enjoy the update of ASCCA's work in the Northern Territory — view Shades of SWADE.

Fond regards, Nan

Nan Bosler, AM
President

Editor: Jenny Willcox

Australian Seniors Computer Clubs Association
Level LG, 280 Pitt St SYDNEY 2000
www.ascca.org.au
ascca@ascca.org.au
(02) 9286 3871

ASCCA acknowledges the traditional owners of country throughout Australia and their connection to land, waters and community.
We pay our respects to them, their cultures, and to their elders past, present and emerging.


Tech News:

“COVIDSafe app: much ado about nothing after all”:

See the iTWire article by Sam Varghese Wednesday, 01 July 2020 22:14.

Author's Opinion
The views in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of iTWire.

The only organisation to gain from the development of the COVIDSafe contact-tracing app in Australia will be the cloud company AWS that earned about $710,000 for hosting the data collected.

The app is unlikely to be of any use in dealing with the coronavirus pandemic in the country, with just a single case being reported, according to reports on Wednesday.

After a lot of promotion and talk, the app was downloaded nearly 6.5 million times by Australians but has proved to be another dud.

When the Australian Government launched the app, 6696 Australians had been identified as having the coronavirus. After that, 926 cases were registered, but only 40 had the COVIDSafe app installed and allowed health officials access to close contact data.

And all the while Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Health Minister Greg Hunt were both advocating the use of the app as though it would keep the end of the world at bay.

Google and Apple have now released their jointly developed Exposure Notifications System for use by contact tracing apps, but the Australian Government says it is not going to use it. The UK has decided to adopt the ENS.

So why did the government rush to develop the app? Was it to keep in touch with other countries that were developing similar apps? Did it want to keep up with the Joneses?

Or was it a case of overreach again, with the opportunity to gather more private data about citizens being too tempting to allow it to pass without trying to capitalise on it?

Whatever it is, it again shows singularly bad judgment in a matter relating to technology, which is par for the course for a government that seems out of its depth when confronted with affairs digital.

Read more »

“The 7 Best Free Alternatives to Fences for Windows Desktop Management”:

See the MakeUseOf article by Dan Price Updated 8 December 2019.

Windows Fence tool

In the same way that you can tell a lot about a person by looking at their physical desktop, you can also deduce a similar amount of information from a person's Windows desktop.

If you're living in a world of virtual clutter, it might be sensible to turn to a third-party desktop management app for help. The most well-known is Fences, but there are plenty of other options out there too.

Here are the best free alternatives to Fences for managing and organizing your Windows desktop.

1. Fences

Wait, how can Stardock's Fences be an alternative to Fences? Please hear me out.

These days, Fences is a paid app. You can enjoy a 30-day free trial, but after that, you'll need to pay $10 for the app. If you want the full app, including Object Desktop, it will cost you $50.

However, Fences hasn't always been a paid app. Back when it was first making a name for itself, the app was free.

And the good news? You can still download that old, free version of Fences. Sure, it doesn't have quite as many bells and whistles as the newest releases, but it still works well.

Download: Fences v1.01 (Free).

2. Nimi Places

Nimi Places is a desktop organizer software that lets users organize their desktop into customizable containers. Each container can hold files and folders from multiple locations, and each file or folder can be displayed as an icon or a thumbnail.

From an organizational standpoint, you can add coloured labels and create rules for containers, so that specific actions will be performed at pre-defined times. Each container can use an individual theme, and you can use different size icons within each container to aid onscreen visuals. The containers also have a built-in media previewer.

The thumbnails are also worth looking at in more detail. Nimi Places can't only create thumbnails of images and videos — it can also work with Photoshop files, web page shortcuts, folder directories, and an assortment of productivity files.

Download: Nimi Places (Free).

Check the rest: — Ed.

3. XLaunchpad
4. SideSlide
5. ViPad
6. TAGO Fences
7. Virtual Desktops

Read more »

“Windows 10 Gets File Recovery Tool”:

See the Infopackets article by John Lister on 29 June 2020 at 01:06 pm EDT.

Microsoft has released a tool for recovering deleted or corrupted files. However, it may be too technical for many casual users.

Windows File Recovery only works with Windows 10 version 2004, which is the latest branch of Windows 10 released on May 2020. The Windows File Recovery is only available through the dedicated Microsoft Store, rather than users being able to download and install it from a website. (Source: microsoft.com)

It might, therefore, seem natural that the tool would be in an easy-to-use format aimed at a mass audience. Instead, it runs on the command line, meaning users can only control it using specific typed instructions.

No Guaranteed Success

The tool works on hard drives, external USB drives and memory cards, though doesn't work on anything that requires a network connection such as a network file share or cloud-based files.

As with all file recovery options, it works best when used as quickly as possible after file deletion. That's because when you delete a file, the space occupied by the file becomes marked as available free space. The actual data remains on the drive until you write another file to the available space.

External Drives Slower To Recover

The default mode in Windows File Recovery tool lets users search for specific files, specific formats of data, or specific locations (such as a drive or folder). Meanwhile, the "segment mode" lets users combine details, for example, recovering all PDF documents on a particular drive.

Both these modes only work on internal drives and rely on the computer still having some records of where it kept files, meaning it won't always work if a drive has been corrupted or damaged.

A third "signature mode" will work on external drives and doesn't need the file records. It has some limitations; however: it can only search for a specific file type, it won't work on small files, and will typically take longer to run than an internal hard drive. (Source: theverge.com)


New Microsoft File Recovery Tool

Read more »

“I Worked at a Microsoft Store, and I'm Sad They're All Closing”:

See the Reviewgeek article by JOSH HENDRICKSON | @canterrain | 27 JUNE 2020, 8:00 am EDT.

The Microsoft Store is dead. The company wants out of retail, and already the comments about empty stores are flying. I worked at a Microsoft Store for just under three years, and I owe my entire writing career to that time. Every community that hosted a Microsoft Store just lost a valuable resource and will be diminished for it. I'll mourn the loss of culture outreach, education, and community service.

It Took Forever to Get Hired

I didn't always have the absolute best work-from-home job a guy could want. Back in 2011, I was a manager at a Radio Shack. Yes, I know. And I wanted out badly cause I could see the writing on the wall and I had a child on the way. I managed to jump from that fast-sinking ship to a slower-sinking ship called Best Buy. But my real hope had been Microsoft.

You see, I've always been a Microsoft fan. Every computer I owned up to that point ran Windows, I owned a Zune, and I still prefer Xbox over Playstation and Nintendo (but I own them all). But, I thought to work for Microsoft was a pipedream.

I applied the moment I found out the company planned to open a Microsoft Store in Cincinnati, but months later, I hadn't heard back. So I jumped to Best Buy. And a month in my new job, I got the call for an interview. That led to more discussions. And eventually, I got the good news that they wanted to hire me — for a part-time sales gig. It was a huge step back from my manager's salary, but I knew it was worth it, and I said yes.

That was July of 2012, and my start date was September 11th, 2012. Yes, really.

A Three-Month Training Crash Course

The Microsoft Store in Cincinnati wasn't open yet. I was among the first employees hired to work in the store. At the time, each store had a manager, assistant managers, a community development specialist, business liaison, teachers, technical advisors, and product advisors. The techs worked on computers; the product advisors sold stuff and taught classes.

I had plenty of experience selling stuff, and I thought I knew a lot about computers, so working my way up to tech advisor was the dream. Over the next three months, I learned how little I knew about Windows, computer hardware, and even sales. We trained Monday through Friday, 8 hours a day, 40 hours a week. And through all of that, we didn't make the company a single penny in sales.

The company often went above and beyond to make sure we had the tools for the job, whether that be free Windows Phones, Surface RTs, or substantial discounts on the Microsoft Band and the Surface Pro.

The training process, and my time spent on the sales floor and then later as a technical advisor, made me immensely more knowledgeable about Windows, about hardware, and electronics in general. I learned how to troubleshoot hardware drivers, Windows license issues, safely backup and migrate user data, the usefulness of various editions of Windows, why Signature PCs mattered, and more. That knowledge informs nearly every article I write.

But along the way, Microsoft also taught me about serving by teaching others, and even serving my community.

Learning to Teach Others is a Critical Skill

These days, Microsoft enjoys a reasonably good reputation. It may not be Apple levels of fanaticism, but it's better than when I joined the company in 2012. Then it was the butt of many jokes, and it had a damaged reputation that it fully earned.

Though many good choices — such as bringing Office and other apps to every platform imaginable or fighting for console crossplay — helped improve that reputation, I like to think Microsoft Stores did a lot of the hard work in the early days. Microsoft Store employees were brand ambassadors.

More Than a Retail Store

It's easy to think of the Microsoft Store as a simple retail store. When you stepped into one, it bombarded you with laptops, desktops, tablets, Xbox games, and giant screens advertising products and services.

And yes, Microsoft Stores offered similar products and services to other stores like the Apple Store or Best Buy. But Microsoft Stores did more than that. They raised and trained knowledgeable leaders invested in the brand. It taught us how to teach others, invaluable skills when you want to write for a site with "How To" in the name.

Read more »

“SCAM: Subsidy benefit allocation”:

A SCAM e-mail offering an Australian Government subsidy

Referred by John Lucke: SCAM e-mail received on 22 June 2020.

This e-mail purports to offer a "Subsidy benefit allocation" from the Australian Government, but which does not exist.

From https://­www.studyassist.gov.au/­news/­scam-alert-subsidy-benefit-allocation:

Scam alert: the subsidy benefit allocation

20 February 2018

A scam about a 'subsidy benefit' is being e-mailed to people, claiming to be from the Department of Human Services (DHS). This e-mail asks you to reply with personal details to confirm your eligibility.

This 'subsidy benefit' does not exist.

For more information about this scam, see the DHS' website at the department of human services.

This scam dates back to 16 December 2015.

“If you receive one of these e-mails, you should delete it immediately and report the incident to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission's SCAMwatch service. If you are unsure about whether an e-mail is legitimate, you should contact the Government agency involved using a phone number that you have sourced independently from the agency's website or phone directory.”

The e-mail asks the recipient to reply to the message with their last name, first name, date of birth, tax file number and full address. It also requests the recipient to submit “two of six items of information, including:

  • One dividend statement from the past two years
  • One notice of assessment from the past five years
  • One PAYG summary from the past two years
  • Details of one superannuation account from the past five years
  • One Centrelink payment summary from the past two years
  • Bank account details that the Tax Office paid the recipient's income tax refund into for the last financial year, or an interest-bearing account from the past two years.”

You should not provide any of this information. Scammers are likely to use it to steal your identity or take money from your bank accounts.

The Department of Human Services advises that it will never ask people to transfer money or provide passwords or PINs to bank accounts.

— John Lucke


Fun Facts:

“How can you draw a Perpendicular with a straight-edge only?”:

Last week's puzzler:

We are given a circle with a diameter drawn and a point inside the circle. Draw a perpendicular from the point to the diameter using a straight-edge only.

Let the diameter be the line E1 - E2 and the inside point be A.


Can you draw a perpendicular with a straight-edge only

Hint:

Draw E1 - A to B on the circumference.

Draw E2 - A to C also on the circumference.

Then extend E1 - C and E2 - B so that they meet at point D.

Finally, prove that line D - A - F is the required perpendicular.

Solution:

Triangle E1 - C - E2, stands on the diagonal, meaning that the angle at C is a right angle.

Similarly, triangle E1 - B - E2, also stands on the diagonal, giving another right angle at B.

Lines E1 - A - B and E2 - A - C are therefore altitudes of the triangle E1DE2.

These altitudes both go through the orthocentre, A.

Line D - A - F is therefore also an altitude, making it a perpendicular from A to the diagonal, E1 - E2.

— Ed.

“Josephine rolls the dice”:

Here is a little dice-rolling game to test your knowledge of probabilities.


Josephine rolls the dice

Yes, yes, we know. Dice — plural, Die — singular.

Hint:

The possible outcomes are 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 or 6.

Multiply the average outcome by 90, and you should get the answer.

— Ed.

“Going to a specific YouTube playtime”:

All you have to do is find the elapsed time in the YouTube video that you want.

Then add "#t=MMMmSSSs" to the end of the URL. Just replace MMM with the minute number and SSS with the second amount.

Here is an example: https://­www.youtube.com/­watch­?v=TjFGaQUEn10#t=13m3s which takes you to 13 minutes and 3 seconds into the video showing the Josephine rolling die game, above.

SPOILER ALERT: Don't run the video until after you've given the problem a go.

— Ed.


Bob Backstrom
~ Newsletter Editor ~

Information for Members and Visitors:

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