2019 Newsletter: 34/66 — PreviousNext — (Attach.)

Sydney Harbour

Hello and Welcome,

Meetings This Week:

Programming - Tuesday Jul 9th - 5:30 pm (6:00 pm meeting start) - 8:00 pm

Prog Sig notes 11 June 2019 :

Andrew showed a Maxim power circuits promo; it is a Free design simulator called 'simplis' for power supply design.

Steve showed an old logic analyser, a hand wired circuit from 25 years ago. After some re-soldering it works - sort of ! He also showed the web link for the pockit multimeter and Saleae logic analyser.

Anthony showed the Sparkfun iotthing and a mikrokontroller course he is doing in German! First he wrote an rgb program in C and tested it on the Arduino. Reversing it back to blockly was harder than first thought!


Steve OBrien

Friday Forum - Friday Jul 12th - 9:30 am (10:00 am meeting start) - 12 noon

We will try updating to Windows 10 version 1903. It may take both sessions, but we can still have computer discussions in the meantime.

Communications - Friday Jul 12th - 1:00 pm - 3:00 pm

We will try updating to Windows 10 version 1903. It may take both sessions, but we can still have computer discussions in the meantime.

Meetings Next Week:

Tuesday Forum - Tuesday Jul 16th - 9:30 am (10:00 am meeting start) - 12 noon
Main Meeting - Tuesday Jul 16th - 12:30 pm (1:00 pm meeting start) - 3:30 pm - DAYTIME-MEETING
Web Design - Saturday Jul 20th - 1:30 pm (2:00 pm meeting start) - 4:00 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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Greetings all,

Here is the July issue of the ASCCA Newsletter.

Great news, SWADE NSW has been funded through a Capacity Builder Grant in the Digital Mentoring category through Good Things Foundation's Be Connected program and ASCCA is about to commence our new program to utilise the medium of video conferencing to support remote delivery of programs.

If someone in your club received mention in the Queen's Birthday 2019 Honours list please let us know. For me it was a feeling of excitement, amazement that someone took the time to nominate me and it made me feel humble.

Queen's Birthday Honour to Nan Bosler for services to seniors & the community
Queen's Birthday Honour for Nan Bosler, ASCCA President

Another new club! Welcome Hornsby RSL Computer Club.

Twenty wonderful years — Congratulations to Computer Pals for Seniors Bankstown. Fantastic that Neville Cooper was the driving force to start the club even though he didn't use a computer!

We were delighted when Chae-Eun Jun a reporter from South Korea wrote to ASCCA requesting that she visit us to learn more about ASCCA's work with Seniors.

Read about Square One Skills, a new ASCCA club based at Sydney University who will be part of our intergenerational program. We look forward to working with them.

Wonderful to see many club newsletters promoting the Digital Photography Competition. Read the update.

There is also an update about the progress of the SWADE NT project.

Stay warm.

Nan Bosler, OAM
Australian Seniors Computer Clubs Association

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:

“Windows 7: Preparing for an uncertain future”:

See the Windows Secrets article by Susan Bradley | ISSUE 16.24.0 | 2019-07-01.

By now every Win7 user should know that official support for the venerable OS ends next year.

The final updates should go out on January 14, 2020 (more MS info) — at least they'll end for those of us who don't have deep corporate pockets to pay for extra patches.

Perhaps someone will figure out a Win7 version of the XP registry hack that allowed extended updates (see the Registry hack details here). Unlikely — but even if such a trick worked, Win7 still isn't robust enough to be a viable Internet-browsing machine going forward. Nor would it really extend the life of Win7 all that much. Point of Sale (PoS) Win7 will be supported only through October 12, 2021, as noted in a Federated Service Solutions article. That's an extra 22 months of support for a ten-year-old platform.


Win7 defense actions

For some, keeping Windows 7 systems might be an unfortunate necessity. Here are a few steps for making Win7 relatively safe after support ends.

Block browsing the Internet: When XP support ended, we used a proxy trick to keep older systems somewhat safe. You can do the same on your Win7 PC: launch Internet Explorer and open Tools/Internet options/Connections. Click the LAN settings button; in the next window, check "Use a proxy server for this connection." Type into the Address field and confirm the port is set to 80. Click OK and close the Internet Options screens.

[ People won't put up with that! They'll reverse the trick and take the risk — Ed. ]

Win7 defense actions cont...

Isolate the system with a private network:
Limit where you go online:
Don't use an administrator-level account:
Disable Windows' Autorun:
Install all updates offered:
Stay open-minded:
Migration tools:

By preparing yourself for the final days of Windows 7, you'll keep yourself as secure as possible.

Read more »

“Why You Should Buy AMD's 2019 CPUs for Your Next PC”:

See the How-To Geek article by IAN PAUL | @ianpaul | JULY 3, 2019, 6:40AM EDT.

AMD is often the top choice when you're looking for value in a processor, but soon, it may take the crown of top performance from Intel — at least in the short term. Consider AMD when building your next PC.

AMD made a big splash this spring with the introduction of its Ryzen 3000 desktop CPUs and the accompanying X570 chipset. This duo starts shipping July 7, 2019, with promises of zippy PCIe 4.0 transfer rates, and a killer value proposition in terms of cost, core count, and power usage.

Value has always been AMD's advantage over Intel, with its Zen, Zen+, and now Zen 2 architecture. We won't know for sure how well the new Ryzen 3000 processors perform until independent benchmarks and tests appear. Nevertheless, it sure looks like Ryzen 3000 will be impressive.

Intel, meanwhile, isn't making a move on new desktop processors any time soon (with, perhaps, one exception), strengthening the rather convincing argument to consider AMD for your next desktop build.


AMD's 16-core chip, by comparison, has a sticker price of $749. That's still expensive, but Intel's 16-core chip (the Core i9-9960X) is more than double that price. Perhaps that's not quite a fair comparison, as the Intel chip is overkill for most people. It supports a whopping 44 PCIe 3.0 lanes compared to 24 PCIe 4.0 lanes in the new AMD chip, and Intel's CPU can handle a boatload of memory.

Then again, that's the point. The AMD 16-core chip is a mainstream CPU that fits into mainstream boards. That's something Intel doesn't have. If Intel intends to provide a more affordable response to Ryzen 3000, we won't see it for a while. The next generation of Intel CPUs, called Ice Lake, are headed to notebooks around the end of the year, but there's been no word on when the next round of desktop CPUs will appear.

Read more »

“Orvibo data leak puts security spotlight on IoT back end”:

See the ComputerWeekly article by Warwick Ashford | Security Editor | 02 Jul 2019 12:15.

The security of devices that make up the internet of things (IoT) is a top concern for many in the industry, but leaks from an IoT database highlights the importance of back-end security too.

Researchers at virtual private network (VPN) testing and review service vpnMentor have discovered a publicly accessible database belonging to Chinese firm Orvibo, which runs a platform for managing smart home appliances for customers around the world, including the UK and the US.

The database for the platform, called SmartMate, was found to have no password protection, despite containing more than two billion logs that relate to around two million customers' smart home devices, underlining the huge volume of data that internet of things (IoT) devices typically collect.

The security implications are huge because these SmartMate logs record details including usernames, passwords protected only using the MD5 hashing algorithm without salt protection, account reset codes and even the precise location of IoT devices belonging to individuals, hotels and other businesses.

As long as the database remains open, the amount of data available continues to increase each day, exposing customers to the risk of account takeover by malicious actors, vpnMentor warned in a blog post.

Despite several attempts to contact Orvibo since 16 June, the vpnMentor researchers said they have received no response and the database continues to be exposed.


The account reset codes, they said, could be especially dangerous because these would enable a hacker to lock a user out of their account without needing their password, and by changing both the password and the email address, the hacker would make the action irreversible.

The vpnMentor researchers recommend that Orvibo and other firms managing IoT devices should ensure that they secure servers, implement proper access rules, and never leave a system that does not require authentication open to the internet.

Ben Herzberg, director of threat research at security firm Imperva, said misconfigurations that leave servers open and vulnerable is something that continually resurfaces, adding that Orvibo's lack of a response and remediation of the leaky server is irresponsible and extremely dangerous.

Read more »

“Windows 10's next big update won't feel big at all”:

See THE VERGE article by Jon Porter | @JonPorty | Jul 2, 2019, 4:52am EDT.

A faster update process, with less disruption.

Microsoft has released the first few details of the upcoming 19H2 update for Windows 10, the operating system's second major feature update of the year. First, the bad news. It sounds like this is going to be a minor update, even by Windows 10 standards. Microsoft says the update will offer "performance improvements, enterprise features, and quality enhancements" for Windows 10, and that it's currently targeting a September release.

The good news is that Microsoft is changing the update process for the release to make it faster and less disruptive. The company says it will use servicing technology to deliver the new update, meaning the process should be more similar to a regular monthly update rather than a big bi-annual feature update. The new update process will only be available to users who are running Windows 10's current May 2019 update.

Read more »

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Bob Backstrom
~ Newsletter Editor ~

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