2020 Newsletter: 9/89 — 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

“Annual General Meeting 2020”:

The Club will hold its Annual General Meeting (AGM) at the Main Meeting on Tuesday 24 March 2020 (NOT at the February Main Meeting).

Meetings This Week:

Main Meeting - Tuesday Feb 25th - 5:30 pm (6:00 pm meeting start) - 8:00 pm

Main Meeting - Tuesday 25 February

Two months down and 10 to go before we hit 2021, which, strictly speaking, is supposed to be the true start of the decade, just as 2001 was meant to be the true start to the millennium.

Of course, for the rest of us living in the real world, 2020 marks the start of the 2020s, and what a start it has been!

Coronavirus has only gotten worse since we last met, with new outbreaks in South Korea and Iran, but thankfully, no such runaway outbreaks have occurred in Australia, so for now at least, we seem to be safe — even as some trade shows and conferences around the world have been cancelled.

It is having an effect on the world of technology, with factories in China slow to restart and are running at much lower capacities than they are able, and even Samsung had to temporarily close the plant in Korea manufacturing the new Galaxy Z Flip folding phone, with a suggested re-opening date of today — Monday.

So, with me as your special guest once more this month, what can we expect to see and learn on Tuesday night?

  • We'll take a look at videos of the Galaxy Z Flip and see what the consensus from reviewers is thus far, and whether it is worthy of being called the Galaxy Z Flip, or whether it is the Galaxy Z Flop.
  • We'll take a look at D-Link's just-released new home security system that takes connected security you can install yourself to the next level.
  • We'll take a look at a stack of must-have yet free apps for your iPhone and Android that you should have installed to make your life easier and better, and which can breathe new life into older devices you've replaced with newer devices.
  • We'll learn more about the new Samsung Galaxy S20 range of smartphones, including the Galaxy S20 Ultra with 100x zoom and a 108 megapixel camera sensor.
  • We'll look at the news that Microsoft Flight Simulator will include all the airports on Earth, being 37,000 of them. If the virus continues, getting to some of these airports might only be possible via Microsoft Flight Simulator!
  • We'll find out how to play some classic old-school computer games online through a browser — Lode Runner from the Apple II days is but one example.
  • We'll learn about the new "cheap" iPhone that is meant to arrive very soon, despite the Coronavirus.
  • Are folding phones the answer? TCL has a phone with a slide-out screen…
  • What about cleaning your phone's screen properly? Turns out there are do's and don'ts here worth following.
  • We'll look at whether a driver be fined if their passenger is using a mobile phone — the answer is — it depends, and you'll find out why.
  • And more!

There are two raffle prizes this month, one is a solar chargeable mobile phone battery charger with nifty and bright torch function, and the other is a Google Nexus 6P Android smartphone — an older model, but one that you can use with a stack of cool apps that I will show you earlier in the presentation.

So, see you on Tuesday night!



Digital Photography - Friday Feb 28th - 9:30 am (10:00 am meeting start) - 12 noon

The Club is looking for a knowlegeable and enthusiastic Digital Photography expert to run the SIG.

We've had no actual designated leader for a while, so here's an opportunity for anyone willing to share their knowledge on the subject.

Meeting Next Week:

Penrith Group - Saturday Mar 7th - 2:00 pm - 5:00 pm

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

15 2020/03/07 — 14:00-17:00 — 07 Mar, Saturday — Penrith Group


Tech News:

“Windows 10's New Update Is Deleting People's Files Again”:

See the How-To Geek article by CHRIS HOFFMAN | @chrisbhoffman | FEBRUARY 19, 2020, 6:40AM EDT.

Microsoft released a buggy security update for Windows 10 last week. Some Windows users report all the files on their desktop have been deleted. Here's everything you need to know, including how to fix the bug and get your files back.

Thankfully, those files aren't actually deleted. The update just moved them to another user account's folder. This is better than the time Microsoft actually deleted people's files with the October 2018 Update.

Update: Some Windows 10 users have now reported the update did completely delete their files.

Why the Bug Appears to Delete Files

Some people report that their desktop files are "deleted" after installing the update. Their taskbars and Start menus are also reset to the default settings.

However, it appears those files weren't actually deleted and are still present on your PC. You can get them back.

Files appear to be deleted because Windows 10 is signing some people into a different user profile after they install the update. As Bleeping Computer's Lawrence Abrams put it, it looks like Windows 10 "is loading up a temporary profile to be used during the update process and failing to restore the user's profile when done."

Microsoft told Bleeping Computer it was aware of the issue on Feb. 12. Woody Leonhard reported on it for Computerworld on Feb 13. On Feb. 17, Windows Latest wrote that multiple Microsoft Support employees had said Microsoft engineers are working on fixing it. We don't know for certain exactly what's causing the problem on some PCs and not others.

Blame the KB4532693 Security Update

The buggy update is KB4532693, which Microsoft released for Windows 10 on Feb. 11, 2020. Windows Update will automatically install it on your PC. If you're using Windows 10, you likely already have it installed.

We've installed this update on several PCs and haven't run into the bug. If your PC has already installed the update and you haven't experienced the bug, you don't need to uninstall the update or take any action. The bug seems to occur during the update's installation process.

How to Uninstall the Update and Get Your Files Back

If you've encountered the bug, there's one simple way to fix it and get your files back: Uninstall the update that caused the problem. Several Windows users have reported this solved the problem for them.

To uninstall an update, head to Settings > Update & Security > Windows Update > View Update History > Uninstall Updates.

You can also browse to Control Panel > Programs > View Installed Updates. Both sequences take you to the same window.

Copy-and-paste "KB4532693" (without quotation marks) into the search box at the top-right corner of the list of updates and press Enter.

You'll see "Update for Microsoft Windows (KB4532693)" appear in the list if you have the buggy update installed. Click it and then click "Uninstall."

Restart your computer after uninstalling the update. Sign in normally and your PC should function as normal.

Read more »

“Intel vs. AMD: It's on (again)!”:

See the Ashampoo article by Sven Krumrey | 2020/02/18.

Every large corporation needs competition, an archrival even, for interesting tales to emerge around their products. Intel have been ruling the roost in terms of chip design for many years, but for the first time since 2006, the semi-conductor specialist is gradually losing ground to AMD! Once primarily a low-budget choice, AMD's products have evolved into a genuine Intel alternative — even regularly outclassing them!

AMD's dark ages

For quite a while, the troubled AMD corporation tried to compensate for weaker single-core performance by adding additional cores to their chips — with woeful results. I remember the time when one of my friends, strapped for cash, bought a PC that was not only comparatively slow but also made for a great fan heater, despite all parts being properly assembled. Once he decided to overclock his processor, the mighty fan never stood still again, rivaling a small plane noise-wise and driving everyone mad. Back then he vowed never to buy from AMD again. Today, he's happy with his current AMD processor — which he freely bought, and not under coercion!

The resurrection

The tides are turning. For the first time since 2006, when AMD stole the show with their Athlon 64 X2, the company is getting back into the processor game.

Brief history flashback: In 2006, AMD bought graphics card and chip manufacturer ATI. Believed to be on the verge of a victory march, AMD's market share dropped below 20% soon after. Intel didn't play fair and put the thumbscrews on major PC stores through "exclusive deals", driving AMD products off the shelves. In 2014, Intel were fined 1.06 billion euros for abuse of a dominant market position and engaging in illegal anticompetitive practices to exclude competitors from the market for computer chips. Still, the AMD brand took a major hit. 2017 saw the beginnings of a turnaround. Originally thought of as a budget-friendly solution, because Intel chips were anything but wallet-friendly, AMD's Ryzen processors were an almost even match for Intel's top-of-the-line CPUs. AMD also managed to poach processor designers from Intel and made great strides in terms of manufacturing processes in general. From there on, it was full steam ahead for AMD!

The performance dilemma

So what does performance mean exactly? Naturally, you can't just multiply the number of cores with the clock speed per core to determine the "total performance", even though PC vendors like to do just that. I like to think of processors as cars with a fixed number of seats. Picture a car with two seats that does 200 kph and a car with five seats that does 180. Just because it has two seats, car number one's top speed doesn't suddenly double. But the second car, though slower, can carry more passengers. The same is true for multi-core CPUs: For the time being, Intel has faster single-core speeds, while AMD offers more cores per CPU. But clock speeds are no longer a reliable performance indicator. Thanks to smarter processor designs, faster processing units and instruction set extensions, processor performance can rise without the need for increased clock speeds. That's why benchmarks that measure real-world performance are more reliable than mere data sheets.

Which processor do you need?

It's horses for courses: Gamers require high single-core performance, because many games still don't handle load balancing across multiple cores very well. That mean's advantage Intel, though AMD are catching up fast. In the multimedia sector, e.g. video editing and conversion, AMD's Ryzen processors offer top performance at more reasonable prices. As mentioned before, AMD's CPUs feature more cores and consequently shine in all areas where applications support proper cross-core load balancing. But to be clear: You don't need high-performance CPUs from either AMD or Intel to surf the web, edit Office documents or stream movies. In these instances, SSD or RAM upgrades are a better investment.

Current recommendations

There's no shortage of processor models. Today, many complete systems feature Intel CPUs, even when they don't offer the best price-performance ratio. There's also no shortage of hardware benchmarks online, but many are so densely packed with figures and tables that they confuse the average visitor. My colleagues over at Techradar came up with a handy list which I'm going to share with you now:

Best overall CPU: Intel Core i9-9900KS

Best all-round CPU: AMD Ryzen 9 3900X

Best gaming CPU: AMD Ryzen 5 3600X

Best budget CPU: Intel Pentium G4560

Best entry-level CPU: AMD Ryzen 3 2200G

Best VR CPU: AMD Ryzen 7 1800X

Best performance processor: Intel Core i9-9980XE

Future prospects

While Intel are still using a 10 nm process and won't switch to 7 nm before 2021, AMD have already shifted to 7 nm manufacturing techniques (smaller is better). A smaller process usually offers higher performance at lower power requirements. The market leader in second place? Unthinkable a few years ago! The issue of too much power consumption, originally one of AMD's biggest drawbacks, has been completely resolved, it seems, with Intel CPUs now usually consuming more energy! AMD is regaining ground both in the private and the business/server sector, not least thanks to their Threadripper 3990X with a whopping 64 cores, that trounces existing workstation performance records on a regular basis. So it's worth checking out AMD when you're buying your next processor or complete PC, in many cases they're the better choice! Let's hope the still remaining "exclusive deals" won't hamper the market and that buyers get the best bang for their buck!

What I would like to know: Would you consider buying AMD CPUs or do you perhaps already have one?

Read more »

Fun Facts:

“Find the shaded area of the square”:

Last week's puzzler:

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?


The two triangles within the crossed lines are similar (angle, angle, angle), so the triangle lengths are proportional to the horizontal bases of the triangles, namely 2:1.

That means that the heights of these triangles are also in the ratio 2:1, and hence the blue triangle has height equal to 2 / 3 of the square's side.

The area will then be 1 / 2 × base × altitude or 1 / 2 × 1 × 2 / 3, or 1 / 3 of the area of the square.

Changing 1 / 2 to 1 / n:

Changing the top triangle to only have 1 / n as its base, means that the larger triangle will have height n / (n + 1) — following similar triangle logic as above.

This leads to an area of 1 / 2 × 1 × n / (n+1) or n / 2(n+1) square units.

Letting n -> ∞ shows that this area will get closer and closer to 1 / 2.

This makes sense since the small triangle's top side approaches the top left corner, so the blue area approaches half of the square geometrically.


“Find the values of this Complex Expression”:

Let i be the "imaginary" square root of minus 1.

What are the values of √i + 1/√i?

Don't forget that complex square roots have a ± value just like real square roots.

You'll be surprised at the answers, because the expression actually does have real values.


Bob Backstrom
~ Newsletter Editor ~

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