2020 Newsletter: 16/54 — PreviousNext — (Attach.)

Sydney Harbour

Hello and Welcome,

SMSA Closed until June

Good afternoon,

Due to the unprecedented COVID-19 situation, and following government mandated restrictions, the Sydney Mechanics' School of Arts will remain closed until further notice.

This is effective immediately.

All Venue Hire during April and May will be cancelled. I will keep you informed if the situation has not improved by June.

No cancellation fees of any kind will be charged for meetings affected by the closure.

Any meetings scheduled to be held during this time that have already been paid for are eligible for a credit or refund. Please get in touch with which you would prefer, and provide banking details where necessary.

Any other questions, please do not hesitate to contact me via email.

We thank you for your patience, and look forward to working with you again when it is safe to do so.

Kind Regards,


Kylie Campbell
Venue & Building Services Coordinator

Daylight Saving ENDS on Sunday morning:

“Daylight Saving Time ends on Sunday, 5 April 2020 at 3:00 am.
The clock is set to go back 1 hour at that time.”

Meetings This Week:


Meetings Next Week:

Programming - Tuesday Apr 14th - 5:30 pm (6:00 pm meeting start) - 8:00 pm

A teleconference is proposed for this meeting; the exact software to be announced later.

Steve OBrien,
SIG Leader

Web Design - Saturday Apr 18th - 1:30 pm (2:00 pm meeting start) - 4:00 pm

[ Meeting Cancelled until further notice ]

Current & Upcoming Meetings:

23 2020/04/04 — 14:00-17:00 — 04 Apr, Saturday — Penrith Group
24 2020/04/14 — 17:30-20:30 — 14 Apr, Tuesday — Programming SIG, L1 Woolley Room
25 2020/04/18 — 13:30-16:30 — 18 Apr, Saturday — Web Design, L3 Norman Selfe
26 2020/04/21 — 09:30-12:30 — 21 Apr, Tuesday — Tuesday Forum, L1 Woolley Room
27 2020/04/24 — 09:30-12:30 — 24 Apr, Friday — Digital Photography [ Discontinued ], L1 Woolley Room
28 2020/04/28 — 17:30-20:30 — 28 Apr, Tuesday — Main Meeting, L1 Carmichael Room


“April 2020 ASCCA Newsletter”:

Greetings all,

Even though Seniors Computer Clubs across Australia have closed their doors it doesn't mean that ASCCA and the network of Seniors Computer Clubs are no longer endeavouring to meet the needs and interests of their members! Definitely not!! Please send this newsletter on to all of your trainers and members. It is vital that you keep in touch with your members and this newsletter is something that you can easily send. We will be interested to hear what plans you have put in place to keep in touch with your trainers and members. Do you have a good idea to share?

Training Officer, Jean Martin, has established a Help Desk on (02) 9922 5408 on Tuesdays and Thursdays between 9.00am and 5.00pm!

Our phone number (02) 9286 3871 has been diverted and is still being answered.

Get the latest ASCCA newsletter from our website. In this issue you will find the following:

News of the ASCCA Digital Photography Competition for 2020. The categories are listed and even though we are currently keeping to our homes, photographs taken after 1 July 2019 are eligible for judging. We can imagine the increase in the number of entries that will be taken around your home and, if you are lucky enough to have a garden, it will provide great opportunities for you and your camera. By the way have you ordered a range of bulbs online for your garden or for pots on your window sill? More time at home means more time in the garden.

We will observe Anzac Day a little differently this year but we certainly won't forget! Was your family involved in World War I? Don a detective's cap and begin to research online the story of your ancestors who fought for King and Country during the Great War.

The ASCCA Notice Board is very busy this month. We welcome 3 new clubs and a new Director, Samantha Isaacs. Find out who was the first famous person to declare WASH YOUR HANDS. ASCCA staff are working from home and the board is meeting regularly via video conferencing.

Shades of SWADE. Be Connected, SWADE NT and SWADE NSW.

Sharing is caring. Keep a watch out for the ASCCA NEWS to use, peruse and amuse!

Take care, stay safe and wash your hands, fond regards,


Nan Bosler, AM

Australian Seniors Computer Clubs Association
Level LG, 280 Pitt St SYDNEY 2000
(02) 9286 3871

ASCCA acknowledges the traditional owners of country throughout Australia and their connection to land, waters and community.
We pay our respects to them, their cultures, and to their elders past, present and emerging.

Tech News:

“Windows 10 Login Issue after Upgrade”:

See the Microsoft "Answers" article.

Sushant Chaturvedi created msg on March 2, 2020.

Hello Experts , could you help here?

I was working fine with my Windows 10 and suddenly Windows Update started and Once update done, I am not able to login.

I tried with Fingerprints, Pin & my Microsoft account password but unable to do so. I have reset password of Microsoft account but still unable to login with new password (Device is on network).

I went into safe mode and if I am selecting any Startup repair, uninstall previous update, again it's asking account password and that is not working.

Can someone please help here?

Greg Carmack - Windows MVP 2010-20 Replied on March 2, 2020.

Independent Advisor

Hi Sushant. I'm Greg, an installation specialist, 10 years Windows MVP, and Volunteer Moderator here to help you.

You can create bootable media to run Startup Repair, System Restore and/or Uninstall Updates, even a Reset, without needing a password. I'll give you those steps below.


I will give you everything possible to fix sign in failure so that at least something will work, based on helping with this issue several times a day for years. I'll also be standing by to guide you as needed:

Try restarting the PC to see if anything changes.

You can change the Microsoft Account password online at https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/402683..., then make sure you are online at the sign-in screen by checking the network icon in bottom corner, if necessary plug in by ethernet cable, so the new password sync's.


A Local Account password must have test questions set up ahead of time to change it from the Sign in Screen: https://www.groovypost.com/howto/reset-windows-...

Try the various troubleshooting steps here:




Read more »

“Member Jeff Garland could not Login after Windows Update”:

Had an unusual experience with PC today [ 1 April 2020 ] .

Desktop PC had been turned off for a week or so (I was using laptop).

Switched on and the PC booted OK, inserted password and return.

Hit with black screen, mouse cursor working, however all keyboard not functioning. Tried a restart by disconnecting power to switch off, same results. That was at 9:00 am this morning. Left PC on.

Regularly checking. At 1:30 pm logon screen appeared again. Logged on and all was normal. Checked Windows Update status, informed that it had updated today.

Was a tad concerned for a while.

Best regards,


You were very lucky, Jeff. Can't think why it just worked after several hours waiting.

By the way, Leo Laporte (of TWIT fame) now says that he has removed Windows from all of his desktops and laptops.

Food for thought there…

— Ed.

“Will COVID-19 drive telephone scammers out of business?”:

See the iTWire article by David Heath Friday, 27 March 2020 12:27.

COMMENT Earlier this week, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi ordered everyone in the country to stay home for 21 days.

There are a lot of large companies in India providing call centre services to countries around the world. These companies probably never considered the possibility that their teams may not be able to get to the office. Certainly they would have the ability to cover 5% or 10% of staff being away at any one time, but not 100%!!

These companies may have considered "work from home," (we doubt it!) but it's highly unlikely this would work.

Firstly, it would require re-programming the massive PABX machines to do something they've never had to do in the past — forward every call to another number, or even direct team-members' outbound calls to the correct customer contact number. Secondly, it would require every employee to have either a home fixed line (highly unlikely — there are reports of only a little over 20 million subscriber lines) or alternately making use of their personal mobiles — something to which we'd expect a lot of resistance.

Further, assuming mobile phones, could you imagine the load on the mobile phone infrastructure to have a significant portion (perhaps as high as 30%) of all mobile phones in use constantly? No carrier plans for that level of usage. Further, how would these 'workers from home' actually connect to the computer systems that drive the whole system? Perhaps many would have non-mobile based Internet, but a lot will not.

In fact, in the major cities, it would be reasonable to expect multiple family members would be employed in these call centres, and as apartments are generally small, competition for space (physical and auditory) would be high.

There are further problems. Many of the call centres are working on projects with a variety of confidentiality clauses that prohibit sensitive information from leaving the office. Clearly, anyone who is in the office has signed a confidentiality contract, but that won't extend to the "layabout uncle" who's forever looking over your shoulder at home.

For the moment, most call centres have been labelled as 'essential services' but it is doubtful that this will continue — as soon as a case of COVID-19 arises, the whole lot would likely be shut down. Right now, if I was an Australian (or any other country) company with my call centre outsourced to India, I'd be very worried.

Which brings us to the scammers.

The silver lining here is that those annoying "Microsoft scam" (and every other outbound calling scam) call centres also are out of work. Most workers in those jobs would probably be 'fibbing' to their family as to the work they're actually doing, and it would be doubtful that they would want to sit in their lounge-room at home and make those calls! Once they're barred from attending the office (are they still "essential services?") it will all be over.

iTWire has contacted some of the major security companies that monitor this space and will hopefully update with facts related to the drop in calls.

Read more »

“Edge Browser Gets New Features, Based on Chrome”:

See the Infopackets article by John Lister on April, 1 2020 at 02:04PM EDT.

Microsoft has unveiled a range of new features for its Edge browser. They include vertically arranged tabs, enhanced cut and paste, and warnings of potential password breaches.

Edge has been somewhat light on new features recently as Microsoft has been concentrating on major behind-the-scenes changes. The browser used to run on Microsoft's own code but is now based on Chromium, the same open source code behind Google's Chrome.

Microsoft hopes that will tempt over some Chrome users who should be able to use many of their existing browser extension tools in Edge. However, it's also adding some built-in features.

The vertical tabs option is simple enough: the list of open tabs goes down the left-hand side of the screen rather than across the top. The theory is that people who often have a lot of tabs open at once will find it easier to do so while still being able to easily read what each one is.

Cut And Paste Gets Smoother

Edge will also be getting a feature called "Collections" that's been in the works for a while. In simple terms it's a way to gather together multiple web pages, text documents and images on a similar subject. It's designed to be more manageable than trying to keep track of a list of bookmarked sites.

Another feature called Smart Copy makes it easier to cut and paste from a web page into a Microsoft Word document without the formatting getting screwed up.

Password Breach Alerts

Finally, there will be a couple of features which are new to Edge but will be familiar to users of other browsers. Immersive Reader mode will strip out complex formatting on a page and show it as a clean set of text and images, a little like the layout of a book. (Source: techradar.com)

Meanwhile, Password Monitor will check any saved passwords against known lists of leaked login credentials. That could warn users not only of a specific breach at the site they are visiting, but also if they've reused details from another site that's been breached.

The reasoning here is that hackers who get hold of stolen credentials from one site will often try the same details to login to accounts on other popular sites. (Source: sophos.com)

Read more »

“How to boost your internet speed when everyone is working from home”:

Referred by Jeff Garland: See The Conversation article written on April 2, 2020 3.55pm AEDT.

With #StayAtHome and social distancing now becoming a way of life, an increasing number of people are relying on the internet for work, education and entertainment. This has placed greater demand on our network infrastructure, reducing the bandwidth available for each user, and is leaving people frustrated at seemingly slow internet speeds.

While internet service providers such as TPG or Telstra may not be able to instantly respond to these changes, there are a few tricks you can use to boost your home internet's speed.

Why is your internet slow?

There may be many reasons why your internet speed is slow. Internet use requires a reliable connection between your device and the destination, which may be a server that is physically located on the other side of the world.

Your connection to that server could pass through hundreds of devices on its journey. Each one of these is a potential failure, or weak point. If one point along this path isn't functioning optimally, this can significantly affect your internet experience.

Web servers in particular are often affected by external factors, including Denial of Service (DOS) attacks, wherein an overload of traffic causes congestion in the server, and impedes proper functioning.

While you may not have control over these things from your home network, that doesn't mean you don't have options to improve your internet speed.

Wifi signal boost

The access point (wireless router) in your home network is used to connect your devices to your internet service provider. Most access points provide a wireless signal with limited channels, which can suffer interference from nearby signals, like your neighbour's. A "channel" is a kind of virtual "pipe" through which data is transferred.

Although your devices are designed to avoid interference by switching channels automatically (there are usually 14 available), it may help to check your router settings, as some are set to a single channel by default. When trying different options to reduce interference, it's advisable to select channels 1, 6 or 11 as they can help to minimise problems (for 2.4GHz wireless).

Read more »

“Bad News Wrapped in Protein: Inside the Coronavirus Genome”:

Referred by John Rose: See The New York Times article by Jonathan Corum and Carl Zimmer April 3, 2020.

A virus is "simply a piece of bad news wrapped up in protein," the biologists Jean and Peter Medawar wrote in 1977.

In January, scientists deciphered a piece of very bad news: the genome of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19. The sample came from a 41-year-old man who worked at the seafood market in Wuhan where the first cluster of cases appeared.

Researchers are now racing to make sense of this viral recipe, which could inspire drugs, vaccines and other tools to fight the ongoing pandemic.

A String of RNA

Viruses must hijack living cells to replicate and spread. When the coronavirus finds a suitable cell, it injects a strand of RNA that contains the entire coronavirus genome.

The genome of the new coronavirus is less than 30,000 "letters" long. (The human genome is over 3 billion.) Scientists have identified genes for as many as 29 proteins, which carry out a range of jobs from making copies of the coronavirus to suppressing the body's immune responses.

The first sequence of RNA letters reads:


Read more »

Fun Facts:

“An Interesting Value”:

Last week's puzzler:

Nested square roots starting sqrt(1 + sqrt(1 + etc
Nested square roots sqrt(1 + 2sqrt(1 + etc.

Some partial values (truncated at successive '1's):

Treat these as nested square roots like the pic, above. [ HTML, unfortunately, won't let the square root signs be easily nested — Ed. ]

√1 = 1.0

√1 + 2√1 = 1.7320508075688772935…

√1 + 2√1 + 2√1 = 2.112842070562244978…

√1 + 2√1 + 2√1 + 2√1 = 2.2859755337983147268…

√1 + 2√1 + 2√1 + 2√1 + 2√1 = 2.3604980549868346488…

√1 + 2√1 + 2√1 + 2√1 + 2√1 + 2√1 = 2.3918603868064016452…

√1 + 2√1 + 2√1 + 2√1 + 2√1 + 2√1 + 2√1 = 2.4049367504391468486…


Hint: Try making an equation with the value = x, say.

Let x = √1 + 2√1 + 2√1…

Then x = √1 + 2x or x2 = 1 + 2x .

The quadratic equation, x2 - 2x - 1 = 0 has solutions 1 ± √2 .

The number should be positive, so the answer is 1 + √2 = 2.4142135623­7309504880­1688724209­6980785696­7187537694­8073176679­7379907324­7846210…

And what happens if you replace each 2 with a?

The quadratic equation then becomes x2 - ax - 1 = 0, giving positive solution (a + √a^2 + 4 ) / 2.

But at a = -1 something strange happens.

The nested square roots seem to give 1, 0, 1, 0, 1, etc., so there is no solution here, although the formula gives (-1 + √5) / 2.

The calculations seem to be OK for all a > -1, but complex calculations creep in when a < -1.

Very interesting.

“Sines and Cosines — Some Exact Values”:

Sin(30°) and cos(30°) have exact values, namely 1/2 and √3/2. See the "half-equilateral" triangle which is a 30°, 60° 90° triangle and then use Pythagoras.

Sines and cosines of some other angles have much more complicated values.

Some can be calculated using the double-angle formula: sin(2θ) = 2sin(θ)cos(θ), for example.

Let's find sin(15°).

Letting sin(15°) = x, we have cos(15°) = √1 - x^2 since sin2(θ) + cos2(θ) = 1.

This gives sin(30°) = 2sin(15°)cos(15°) = 2 · x · √1 - x^2 = 1/2.

Squaring this equation leads to the quadratic: 16x4 - 16x2 + 1 = 0, with solutions: x2 = (2 ± √3) / 4.

Note that 2 ± √3 = (√3 ± 1)2 / 2, leading to x = sin(15°) = √2 / 4 ± (√3 - 1) = 0.2588190451­0252076234­8898837624­0483283490­6890131993­0513814003­2073150569­7474880…

In the same way, we could find sin(22.5°), starting with sin(45°) = √2 / 2.

The answer here would be sin(22.5°) = 1/2 · √2 - √2 = 0.3826834323­6508977172­8459984030­3988667613­4456248562­7041433800­6356275460­3396008…

In fact, there are several dozen exact values for sine and cosine with angles up to 90° displayed on this page by Julian D. A. Wiseman. Have a look there and be amazed.

LaTeX versions of the expressions are also given, so that we can typeset the values exactly in a PDF document.

Here is the LaTeX formatting for sin(15°): \frac{\sqrt{2} }{4}\left(\sqrt{3} - 1\right).

— Ed.

Bob Backstrom
~ Newsletter Editor ~

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