2019 Newsletter: 15/66 — PreviousNext — (Attach.)

Sydney Harbour

Hello and Welcome,

March Main Meeting Report:

At the March Main Meeting we had a visit from Shopback, your cash back discount service and our friends from the Microsoft store. Full reports will be up on the web site shortly.

Meanwhile, the people at Shopback have offered members a $10 voucher. If you sign up at https://­www.shopback.com.au/­pctu and use Shopback to purchase your goodies, you can receive a discount back in cash. For example, Woolworths has 2.5 % and Booking.com has a 4 % discount.

Steve South

Meeting This Week:

Penrith Group - Saturday Apr 6th - 2:00 pm - 5:00 pm

The meeting normally starts with a Q&A session around the table to enable members to share problems, advice and computer tips.

The group will then consider any further computer topics of interest.

Meetings Next Week:

Programming - Tuesday Apr 9th - 5:30 pm (6:00 pm meeting start) - 8:00 pm
Friday Forum - Friday Apr 12th - 9:30 am (10:00 am meeting start) - 12 noon
Communications - Friday Apr 12th - 1:00 pm - 3:00 pm

Meetings This Month:

24 2019/04/06 - 14:00-17:00 - 06 Apr, Saturday - Penrith Group
25 2019/04/09 - 17:30-20:30 - 09 Apr, Tuesday - Programming
26 2019/04/12 - 09:30-12:30 - 12 Apr, Friday - Friday Forum
27 2019/04/12 - 12:30-15:30 - 12 Apr, Friday - Communications
28 2019/04/16 - 09:30-12:30 - 16 Apr, Tuesday - Tuesday Forum
29 2019/04/26 - 09:30-12:30 - 26 Apr, Friday - Digital Photography

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Tech News:

“What's the best laptop screen size for poor eyesight?”:

Referred by Jeff Garland: See The Guardian article by Jack Schofield Thu 21 Mar 2019 20.30 AEDT.

Chris wants to know if a Windows laptop with a 17in screen would be easier for his 'pensioner eyes'.

"For home use, would a 17in Full HD laptop screen be better or worse than a 13in or 14in model? Will the clarity and crispness be better for my pensioner eyes?" Chris.

According to my pensioner eyes, clarity and crispness are less important than size. And in one of life's little ironies, increasing the resolution of a screen, to make things look crisper, leads directly to a decrease in size.

Fortunately, we can fix this in Windows 10's software settings by changing the scaling, as I'll explain later. However, programmers need to follow the rules, and even today, not every Windows program scales correctly.

Go back a few years and most of us were using PCs with VGA (Video Graphics Array) screens, which had a resolution of 640 x 480 pixels. VGA was a major advance in 1987, and some feature phones and laptops still have cameras with VGA resolution.

Screens kept improving and the next major standard was XGA (Extended Graphics Array), with a resolution of 1024 x 768 pixels and the same 4:3 aspect ratio, like a TV set. Now your 640 x 480 photo no longer filled the screen and if the screen was the same size, it would be smaller.

Windows laptops moved on to widescreens with a resolution of 1366 x 768 pixels, which sounds odd but isn't. Manufacturers simply retained the depth from XGA (768 pixels) and extended the width to fill a flat panel with an aspect ratio of 16:9, which was efficient for manufacturing. The result was W-XGA (Wide Extended Graphics Array). Now you could fit two of your 640 x 480 pixel images on screen side by side with room to spare, but again, each image was smaller.


One way to make everything bigger is to change the resolution of the monitor. Right-click on the Windows desktop and select "Display settings" from the drop-down menu. This will bring up the Display section of the Settings (cogwheel) app, which shows the screen resolution. It may say something like "1920 x 1080 (Recommended)". Clicking the down-arrow will let you to select a lower resolution, going down to around 800 x 600. Every reduction in resolution makes everything bigger, though it also means the screen displays less information.

But reducing the screen resolution rarely works well. LCD screens have a fixed grid of pixels that forms their "natural resolution". Setting a different resolution can produce very blurry results.

Fortunately, there's an alternative. Look for the box that says "Change the size of text, apps, and other items". This should read "100% (Recommended)", but the down-arrow will allow you to change this to 125%, 150%, 175% or even more. (My 4K monitor offers up to 350%.) This type of scaling makes everything look bigger without changing the screen's native resolution.

If you click on "Advanced scaling settings" then you can type in any number you like for percentage size increases between 100% and 500% (not recommended).

In general, the smaller the screen and the higher the resolution, the more scaling you will need. Try the 125% and 150% options to see which suits your eyesight best.

Read more

“Facebook stored hundreds of millions of passwords in plain text”:

See the iTWire article on 22 March 2019 Written by Sam Varghese.

Social media giant Facebook has admitted that it has been storing user passwords in plain text, with the company saying the numbers ran into hundreds of millions.

In a blog post, the company's vice-president of Engineering, Security and Privacy, Pedro Canahuati, said it was estimated that hundreds of millions of Facebook Lite users would have to be notified about the snafu, as also tens of millions of other Facebook users and tens of thousands of Instagram users.

Facebook Lite is a version of the social media site used in areas where the connectivity is not so good.

Canahuati said the error had been noticed in January but did not say why an announcement had been delayed for more than two months.

"As part of a routine security review in January, we found that some user passwords were being stored in a readable format within our internal data storage systems," he said.


He claimed the passwords had never been visible to anyone outside Facebook and there was no evidence to show that anyone had internally abused or improperly used them.

Read more

“Sydney Uni contributes to development of more efficient satellite launch platform”:

See the iTWire article on 25 March 2019 Written by Peter Dinham.

The University of Sydney's School of Aerospace, Mechanical and Mechatronic Engineering says it is one step closer to developing a more efficient and cost-effective access to space platform for satellite launches.

As part of the University's Clean Combustion Group, Associate Professor Matthew Cleary, Associate Professor Ben Thornber, and Dr Dries Verstraete have joined the International Responsive Access to Space project, with the aim of building the world's first successful rotating detonation engine to send payloads into space.

See the howstuffworks article BY CHERISE THREEWITT.

The United States Navy is getting all the credit for its recent investment in the technology (and perking up the news cycle), but the rotating detonation engine has actually been in the works for a few decades, at this point. The patent for the engine was filed in 1982 and granted in 1988 to a Rockville, Md.-based inventor named Shmuel Eidelman. (The patent is actually called the "rotary detonation engine," rather than "rotating" — it's unclear when the moniker changed.)

Shmuel Eidelman has been a busy man. He has been awarded 14 patents since 1982, focusing on aeronautics, propulsion and chemicals through his work with scientific corporations and military organizations [ source: PatentBuddy ]. So when the patent was filed, it seemed like the Navy had pushed the gas-turbine as far as it could go, and it was time to start thinking fresh.

"Our preliminary findings from simulations of a model rotating detonation engine have led to some interesting findings about the stability of detonations in an annular channel, in particular with regard to the importance of designing the combustor geometry such that the detonation is stable and rocket thrust can be sustained continuously.

"This information is being fed to our collaborators who are now starting work on ground testing an engine," he said.

Read more

“Edge + Chromium = ???”:

I wonder... what will Microsoft name their new browser? They can't just call it "Edge".

See the Windows Latest article by Mayank Parmar - March 7, 2019.

Microsoft last year announced that it is rebuilding the Edge browser to use Chromium resources and the Blink rendering engine. Switching to Chromium resources will bring several major improvements to the Edge browser, including access to a large collection of extensions and updates independent of new Windows releases.

How about calling it "Chredge", Edgium", "New Edge" or just "Edge 2.0"?

Place your bets.


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Bob Backstrom
~ Newsletter Editor ~

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