2019 Newsletter: 33/66 — PreviousNext — (Attach.)

Sydney Harbour

Hello and Welcome,

Meeting This Week:

Penrith Group - Saturday Jul 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 Jul 9th - 5:30 pm (6:00 pm meeting start) - 8:00 pm
Friday Forum - Friday Jul 12th - 9:30 am (10:00 am meeting start) - 12 noon
Communications - Friday Jul 12th - 1:00 pm - 3:00 pm

Current & Upcoming Meetings:

47 2019/07/06 - 14:00-17:00 - 06 Jul, Saturday - Penrith Group
48 2019/07/09 - 17:30-20:30 - 09 Jul, Tuesday - Programming
49 2019/07/12 - 09:30-12:30 - 12 Jul, Friday - Friday Forum
50 2019/07/12 - 12:30-15:30 - 12 Jul, Friday - Communications
51 2019/07/16 - 09:30-12:30 - 16 Jul, Tuesday - Tuesday Forum
52 2019/07/16 - 12:30-15:30 - 16 Jul, Tuesday - Main Meeting - DAYTIME-MEETING
53 2019/07/20 - 13:30-16:30 - 20 Jul, Saturday - Web Design
54 2019/07/26 - 09:30-12:30 - 26 Jul, Friday - Digital Photography

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“ASCCA Pitt St Sydney Courses
July August September 2019”:

Our new course program has now been released.

Click here to read or download the course program in PDF format.

Some people have reported that the above link does not work for them.

If so, try this one: https://­ascca.org.au/­index.php/­seniors-computer-courses/­current-ascca-courses

Jean Martin

Empowering Australian seniors through technology

Level LG | 280 Pitt Street | Sydney | NSW | 2000
P: (02) 9286 3871 | W: www.ascca.org.au
E: office@ascca.org.au
FB: www.facebook.com/ASCCAau

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Tech News:

“Current Employment and High Tech trends”:

Referred by Anthony Borla, Prog SIG Member: Here are some interesting articles and TV commentaries on the current Tech trends.

Hi All,

I watched the ABC's 7:30 Report recently, and it included this cheery segment:


This morning I came across this piece:


While the outlook is rosy for some sectors, it doesn't seem so for others; it all seems to depend on how the numbers are presented (aggregate summary vs. sector-by-sector).

A less cheery piece:


On a much more positive note, the Raspberry Pi 4 is out:


See you all in a week or so !


“Second Florida city pays giant ransom to ransomware gang in a week”:

See ZDNet article by Catalin Cimpanu for Zero Day | June 26, 2019 -- 07:44 GMT (17:44 AEST) | Topic: Security.

Less than a week after a first Florida city agreed to pay a whopping $600,000 to get their data back from hackers, now, a second city's administration has taken the same path.

On Monday, in an emergency meeting of the city council, the administration of Lake City, a small Florida city with a population of 65,000, voted to pay a ransom demand of 42 bitcoins, worth nearly $500,000.


The decision to pay the ransom demand was made after the city suffered a catastrophic malware infection earlier this month, on June 10, which the city described as a "triple threat."

Despite the city's IT staff disconnecting impacted systems within ten minutes of detecting the attack, a ransomware strain infected almost all its computer systems, with the exception of the police and fire departments, which ran on a separate network.

Lake City government work has been crippled for nearly two weeks because of the incident.

A ransom demand was made a week after the infection, with hackers reaching out to the city's insurance provider — the League of Cities, which negotiated a ransom payment of 42 bitcoins last week.

City officials agreed to pay the ransom demand on Monday, and the insurer made the payment yesterday, on Tuesday, June 25, local media reported [1, 2, 3].

UPDATE: Lake City fires employee after paying ransom in malware attack [3].

The payment is estimated to have been worth between $480,000 to $500,000, depending on Bitcoin's price at the time of the payment. The city's IT staff is now working to recover their data after receiving a decryption key.

Read more »

“How Silicon Valley's whiz-kids finally ran out of friends”:

See The Guardian article by John Naughton | Sun 16 Jun 2019 15.59 AEST.

The tech founders said they were not like the evil capitalists of old. We should have known better.

Remember the time when tech companies were cool? So do I. Once upon a time, Silicon Valley was the jewel in the American crown, a magnet for high IQ — and predominately male — talent from all over the world. Palo Alto was the centre of what its more delusional inhabitants regarded as the Florence of Renaissance 2.0. Parents swelled with pride when their offspring landed a job with the Googles, Facebooks and Apples of that world, where they stood a sporting chance of becoming as rich as they might have done if they had joined Goldman Sachs or Lehman Brothers, but without the moral odium attendant on investment banking. I mean to say, where else could you be employed by a company to which every president, prime minister and aspirant politician craved an invitation? Where else could you be part of inventing the future?

But that was then and this is now. It's taken an unconscionable length of time, but the tide of approbation has turned. Tech has suddenly lost its halo. Everywhere one looks, we find groups sharpening knives for a critique or an attack on big tech. In an interesting essay in The Atlantic, for example, the commentator Alexis Madrigal identifies no fewer than 15 different groups preparing ambushes. They include angry conservatives and progressive politicians, disillusioned tech luminaries, competition lawyers, privacy advocates, European regulators, mainstream media, scholarly critics, other corporations (telecoms firms, for example, plus Oracle and other business-software companies, for example), consumer-protection organisations and, last but not least, Chinese internet companies. With enemies like these, the US tech companies are suddenly discovering that they really need some friends.

Since the tech guys think they embody the future, they have little use for history. Which is a shame, since it may have some lessons for them. "There was a time," writes Madrigal, for example, "when Americans loved and talked about the transcontinental railroads the way we loved and talked about the internet." The steel lines spanning the continental United States were once "the epitome of modernity", as the historian Richard White put it in his book, Railroaded: The Transcontinentals and the Making of Modern America. But then things changed: the public turned on the railroads. "The innovations entrepreneurs brought to the railroads — financial mechanisms, pricing innovations and political techniques — were as harmful to the public, to the republic, and even to the corporation as they were profitable to many of the innovators."

Something like this lies ahead for the titans of Silicon Valley. The forces driving public disillusionment with their companies are many and varied. They include the sociopathic failure of some of the founders of these outfits to appreciate the consequences of their deployment of digital technology. Exhibit A in this regard is the Facebook boss, Mark Zuckerberg, but there are many others of his ilk among his peers in Silicon Valley. Then there's the fact that the future that tech giants aspire to bring about no longer looks so attractive to ordinary citizens, who see their communities, jobs, societies and politics being screwed by tech giants.


The people who founded these outfits all maintained that they were not like the evil capitalists of old. They were cool, young, idealistic, smart and never, ever wore suits. They supported the Democrats and had mantras such as "don't be evil" in their filings to regulators. What we omitted to notice was that the companies they founded were just corporations. And once they went public they did what corporations do: maximise shareholder value, come what may, avoid regulation and pay as little tax as possible. Just like tobacco companies and arms manufacturers, in fact. It has taken a long time for these pennies to drop, but better late than never.

Read more »

“Microsoft's New Windows Terminal Is Now Available”:

See the How-To Geek article by CHRIS HOFFMAN | @chrisbhoffman | JUNE 21, 2019, 11:29PM EDT.

Windows Terminal App showing a C program in one Tab, + PowerShell in another
The new Windows Terminal App

[ This shows the new Windows Terminal App running under Windows 10, version 1903. It has two open Tabs, showing PowerShell in one and Linux Ubuntu in the other. In Ubuntu, you can see a little C program which tests whether it's running on a 32 or 64-bit Operating System. The size of the long ints (integers) shows that it's running on a 64-bit OS — Ed. ]

You can now download a preview version of the new Windows Terminal app from the Store on Windows 10! Microsoft released this application on the evening of June 21 after a listing showed up earlier that day.

After downloading the Windows Terminal app from the Store, you can take advantage of all the new features — including tabs, finally! You can combine tabs from the traditional Command Prompt, Linux Bash instances, and PowerShell in the same window. It's a deeply customizable environment, too. Here's how Microsoft describes it:

The Windows Terminal is the new, powerful, open source terminal application that was announced at Build 2019. Its main features include multiple tabs, Unicode and UTF-8 character support, a GPU accelerated text rendering engine, and custom themes, styles, and configurations.

For more information about this awesome new application, read Microsoft's blog post announcing the release. We look forward to playing with it a lot more in the days to come.

Microsoft says you need "Windows 10 version 18362" to use the application. That's the build number associated with the May 2019 Update, so you'll need either that or a Windows Insider build installed.

Read more »

“Australian Internet pioneer says future does not look so bright”:

See the iTWire article by Sam Varghese | Monday, 24 June 2019 10:23.

The first employee of Australia's Academic and Research Network, Geoff Huston, is still very much a nerd and one not inclined to puff up his own achievements — which include playing a pivotal role in setting up the Internet in this country 30 years ago. He believes the Internet has become toxic with inadequate security.

Huston has a very realistic view of what lies ahead, as evidenced by a talk he gave at a recent Telecommunications Society meeting in Melbourne.

The slides for that talk are well worth a look; towards the end, he posed a number of questions: "In a world of abundant content what do we choose to view? What do we choose to believe? Search becomes the arbiter of content selection and assumes a level of ultimate importance in this world. What's the social outcome of search being dominated by a single entity?"

Asked to look ahead, Huston, now the chief scientist at the Asia Pacific Network Information Centre, told iTWire that 30 years ago there were no smartphones, laptops were luggables, and computers lived in large air-conditioned special rooms with heaps of worker bees tending to them.

"The telephone companies were the largest enterprises in almost every country and nothing looked like it would ever change," he said. "Today — let's see, awesome compute power in my pocket, high-speed mobile communications, Wi-Fi in planes, driverless cars, cashless money, automated trading, death of newspapers, death of television networks, death of the telephone and telephone companies, death of the bricks and mortar shop, huge displacement of the labour force as we shift from primary and secondary production to a service-based economy, new forms of labour exploitation with the so-called gig economy, and an entire new economy based on surveillance capitalism."

Read more »

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Bob Backstrom
~ Newsletter Editor ~

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