2020 Newsletter: 8/89 — PreviousNext — (Attach.)

Sydney Harbour

Hello and Welcome,

“At a Main meeting back in 2003”:

A crisis so long ago

While cleaning out some old computer files recently I came across an historical and important document that may be of interest to most club members.

At a Main meeting back in 2003, our club President urgently called for nominations to fill at least three board vacancies at the upcoming AGM. A crisis was looming. At that time, the club's finances had dwindled and on occasions it may have been operating while insolvent, so there was an understandable reluctance to get involved.

At this meeting, I was sitting next to Brian Keating and said to him "if you nominate so will I" and so we did. Thankfully, Russell Field nominated as well thus ensuring a quorum at any future board meetings.

Very soon the existing and newly elected board members determined that operating the club as a Company imposed a major financial burden including a $2000 annual audit fee so they resolved to change the club to an Incorporated Association — if the members approved.

Thankfully, at a Special General Meeting in October 2004 these changes received unanimous approval, providing the turning point for our club's survival. Soon, along with restructuring membership subscriptions and attendance fees plus other cost savings our club's finances markedly improved and has never since been a problem.

In the ensuing years, many other loyal members have nominated and been elected to the club's committee, devoting their time, talents and ideas so that our great club continued to provide top facilities, friendly interaction, encouragement and learning for all our members. They deserve our thanks.

Once again, without enough nominations to form the next committee, what else can save our great club from the brink of this preventable crisis?

Please nominate.


John Lucke

Meeting This Week:

Tuesday Forum - Tuesday Feb 18th - 9:30 am (10:00 am meeting start) - 12 noon

The usual Q&A and other discussions.

Meetings Next Week:

Main Meeting - Tuesday Feb 25th - 5:30 pm (6:00 pm meeting start) - 8:00 pm
Digital Photography - Friday Feb 28th - 9:30 am (10:00 am meeting start) - 12 noon

Looking for these Newsletters Online?:

Go to the Newsletter page on the Club's website.


Current & Upcoming Meetings:

 7 2020/02/01 — 14:00-17:00 — 01 Feb, Saturday — Penrith Group
 8 2020/02/11 — 17:30-20:30 — 11 Feb, Tuesday — Programming SIG, L1 Woolley Room
 9 2020/02/14 — 09:30-12:30 — 14 Feb, Friday — Friday Forum, L1 Woolley Room
10 2020/02/14 — 12:30-15:30 — 14 Feb, Friday — Communications, L1 Woolley Room
11 2020/02/15 — 13:30-16:30 — 15 Feb, Saturday — Web Design, L1 Woolley Room
12 2020/02/18 — 09:30-12:30 — 18 Feb, Tuesday — Tuesday Forum, L1 Woolley Room
13 2020/02/25 — 17:30-20:30 — 25 Feb, Tuesday — Main Meeting, L1 Carmichael Room
14 2020/02/28 — 09:30-12:30 — 28 Feb, Friday — Digital Photography, L1 Woolley Room


Tech News:

“WARNING — Raspberry Pi 4 Upgrade results in Unable to Boot”:

The Feb 2020 update/upgrade of the Raspberry Pi 4 Raspbian OS will result in being unable to boot.

All you see are the "Four Raspberry" images on the top of the screen (signifying the four cores, I presume) and that's it.

Luckily there is a way out. You have to put the micro-SD card into a Windows/Linux card reader and edit the file "config.txt".

Watch the YouTube video "Raspberry Pi 4. Raspbian Update Feb 2020 Many changes. YouTube 1080 test" for update information.

Advising users to run 'sudo apt update' then 'sudo apt full-upgrade'
Update & upgrade Raspberry Pi 4

Apparently it's to do with overclocking the GPU, although I'm sure I'd remember having done that!

Incredible — Ed.

“Important developments in the world of Windows”:

WOODY'S WINDOWS WATCH by Woody Leonhard - Issue 17.6.0 - 2020-02-10.

This past week saw some major changes in Windows as we know it — from remarkable bugs in Win7 to frightening discoveries about Win10.

Microsoft is (once again!) reorganizing the Windows team. Do we have reason for hope … or does it presage doom and gloom?

My magic eight ball says: 'Doom and gloom!'

I try to avoid repeating news items in the AskWoody Plus newsletter, but this past month has been a real barn burner. Indulge me for a moment.

The Windows 7 crowd saw the official end of free patches on January 14 — then discovered that the final January updates broke the "Stretch" wallpaper setting and turned the background black on some Win7 systems (Computerworld article). Piling on, there was a string of reports that Win7 was suddenly sprouting warnings that "You don't have permission to shut down this computer."

Add Susan Bradley's ongoing efforts to bring Win7 Extended Service Updates (ESUs; Computerworld) — a three-year, U.S. $70-per-year patching reprieve — to individuals and small businesses, and we've had more important Win7 news in the past few weeks than in the preceding few years.

Then we heard rumors that a certain group of Office users — mostly folks whose companies subscribe to Office 365 ProPlus — are going to get their default search engine in Firefox and/or Google Chrome switched to Bing. It's browser hijacking, pure and simple — something that Microsoft has railed against for years. Only this time, Microsoft's doing the hijacking.

If all of that weren't enough news for one lifetime, we discovered last week that Microsoft's using an undocumented back door (Computerworld) in the Windows 10 Search function to beta-test buggy code. The immediate fallout was millions of machines with black Search boxes. But the root cause appears to be much, much more distressing.

And this litany of missteps and changes is playing out against a backdrop of yet another Windows reorg.

Many of you think that Windows — being an enormous cash cow for Microsoft, to the tune of billions of dollars a quarter — is being steered by an MS executive who has Windows' reputation at heart. Not true.

Back in April 2018, Microsoft and Windows chief Terry Meyerson parted ways. Microsoft then broke Windows into two pieces (Computerworld): the Windows Core team takes care of the internals, while the Windows Experience team deals with the parts of Windows that you and I can interact with.

The Windows group has long had a similar division of labor internally, but the big change in April 2018 came when Microsoft split the two groups into two completely separate operating divisions within the company. The Core team went with Jason Zander, whose Azure and Windows group reports to Scott Guthrie. The UI, er, Windows Experience team went with the legendary Joe Belfiore and was placed, along with Office 365 and Panos Panay's Surface group, under Rajesh Jha.

At that point (nearly two years ago) Windows no longer had a single guiding light. It also didn't have a seat on the MS Senior Leadership Team. This, in spite of all the money it was — and still is — making. (We don't know how much because of some very creative accounting. But that's a beef for another time.)

This past week we saw another shift in Microsoft's Windows management. ZDNet's Mary Jo Foley posted the details, but the upshot is that Joe Belfiore's heading off with his family for another months-long cruise and the Windows Experience group will soon report to Panos Panay. Yes, the guy who brought us the MS Surface's legendary customer-support debacle (Computerworld) is about to take charge of the part of Windows that you and I live with.

Scott Guthrie? I don't know where he is. Haven't heard from him in many months.

Jason Zander's still in charge of Windows Core, apparently, but he has a lot of eggs on his plate — his LinkedIn profile says he "leads the core teams building Microsoft's intelligent cloud and intelligent edge — from silicon to cloud to the edge. This purview includes Azure strategy; product management; engineering and operations of cloud product lines including IaaS, PaaS, Microservices, Networking, Storage, IoT, SQL Server, Big Data & Analytics stacks, Quantum Computing, global expansion, and more."

Did you see Windows in that list? Me neither.

We've seen some significant improvements in Windows lately. For example, the "Pause updates …" feature in Win10 versions 1903 and 1909 alone was a remarkable advance in putting patching control back into the hands of Windows users. But in the past few weeks we've seen a back door, a threatened browser hijacking, and Windows management forking again.

I don't feel comfortable about this. Not one whit.

Woody Leonhard

“US ropes in tech firms in bid to cut Huawei reliance”:

See the iTWire article by Sam Varghese | Wednesday, 05 February 2020 10:44.

A number of American technology companies such as Microsoft, Dell and AT&T have joined an effort sponsored by the White House to create advanced software for 5G networks in order to reduce the dependence on Chinese telecommunications equipment vendor Huawei Technology.

The Wall Street Journal reported that the plan was to agree on a common standard to allow developers to write code that would run on top of hardware from any 5G vendor.

White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow was quoted as saying: "The big-picture concept is to have all of the US 5G architecture and infrastructure done by American firms, principally."

"That also could include Nokia and Ericsson because they have big US presences."

The US has no company that can supply equipment for an end-to-end 5G network, with Huawei, Sweden's Ericsson and Finland's Nokia the only three firms that can do so.

The one American company in the business, Lucent Technologies, merged with the French company Alcatel in 2006. A decade later, the merged entity was absorbed by Nokia.

The US has been trying to persuade countries it regards as allies against the use of Huawei equipment in 5G networks. Only Australia has come out openly and said it would ban the Chinese firm from any role.

Washington claims that Huawei can be ordered to spy for the Chinese Government and is therefore a security risk. Huawei has strongly denied that it can be coerced into such activities.

Japan, Poland and South Korea have indicated that they would toe the US line but are yet to make any definitive statements.

Last week, the US suffered a blow to its efforts when the UK announced that it would allow Huawei to supply up to 35% of the gear for non-core parts of its 5G networks. Three UK telcos launched networks last year and all have used Huawei equipment in non-core parts of their networks.

The WSJ report said there would be many hurdles to achieving what had been outlined, as different companies were involved and each had its own priorities.

Read more »

“Microsoft backtracks on 'Bing-jacking' Chrome with its Microsoft Search extension”:

See the ZDNet article by Mary Jo Foley for All About Microsoft | February 11, 2020 -- 14:00 GMT.

Sanity prevails: Microsoft is no longer planning to automatically deploy its Microsoft Search in Bing browser extension to Office 365 ProPlus users.

Microsoft is reversing course on a plan to auto-install a Microsoft Search extension for Office 365 ProPlus customers using Chrome. That Microsoft Search in Bing extension would have changed users' default search engine to Bing once it was installed. But "customer feedback" has yet again saved the day.

In late January, Microsoft announced its scheme to try to force more customers to try its Microsoft Search in Bing Intranet search capability. That plan requires users to have Bing set as their default engine. Knowing the majority of Chrome users have their default search engine set to Google, Microsoft came up with a way to try to "help" users have a chance to try the new Search by switching their search engines to Bing once the force-fed extension was installed.

Microsoft officials said last month that they would begin installing the extension starting with Office 365 ProPlus version 2002, which it was going to roll out to customers in a handful of countries, including the U.S., starting in mid-February. The plan was to do the same with Firefox users. Today, February 11, Microsoft is notifying users that "based on your feedback," the company would be undoing the previously announced Microsoft Search in Bing extension plan.

The Microsoft Search in Bing browser extension now will not be automatically deployed with Office 365 ProPlus. Instead, admins will have a toggle in the Microsoft 365 admin center which will enable them to opt in to deploy the browser extension to their companies.


While it's good Microsoft has bowed to customer pressure on this, one has to wonder how this kind of policy was pushed through with no warning in the first place. It's not the first time Microsoft has had to undo a badly received decision in the past several months. Late last year, Microsoft walked back the decision to allow users to circumvent admins to buy and deploy Power Platform tools. Last summer, Microsoft halted plans to remove internal usage rights from partner plans after widespread complaints by many of its resellers and integrators.

Read more »

Fun Facts:

“Find the shaded area of the square”:

Draw a square. Join the bottom left corner to the mid-point of the top side. Then join the bottom right corner to the top left corner of the square.

Colour the lower triangle enclosed as blue. Assume that the square has sides of length 1 unit.

Find the area of the blue triangle.

A square 1 line from bottom left to top mid point, 2nd line from bottom right to top left. Find area of lower triangle.
What is the area of the blue triangle?

This note is based on the YouTube video (MATHS PROBLEM STUMPING EVERYONE! Fraction Of Square Shaded) from Presh Talwalkar.

The DailyMail (Australia) says:

Tricky maths problem sweeping social media leaves many scratching their heads… but can YOU work out what fraction is shaded?

How would your answer differ if the first line was drawn to a point along the top edge, 1 / n of the way from the top left corner, instead?

And what happens as you let n -> ∞?


Bob Backstrom
~ Newsletter Editor ~

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