2020 Newsletter: 22/89 — PreviousNext — (Attach.)

Sydney Harbour

Hello and Welcome,

MAIN Meeting Zoom Roundup:

The Main Meeting on 28 April went very well with Zoom.

Many thanks to the guest speaker, Derek Austin from Nuance, and Alex Zaharov-Reutt for organising the session.

We had a screen-full of participants who, I'm sure, enjoyed the experience.

Derek's talk was on "PERSONAL PRODUCTIVITY 2030: WHAT'S COMING?", which was thoughtful and very interesting, given the difficulty of 10-year predictions.

The Share-Screen feature of Zoom worked perfectly, but the thumb-nail videos of the participants down the right-hand side obscured some of the text of the full-screen-wide PowerPoint paragraphs.

Congratulations to Clare Perry for winning the door-prize of some Dragon Dictate software.

Overall, a very worth-while method of keeping our membership ticking over while we await the demise of the COVID menace.

— Ed.

PS: Nice to see Dennis Campanella on-screen, a longstanding Club member and former raffle organiser.

Meetings This Week:

Friday Forum - Friday, 8 May - 9:30 am (10:00 am meeting start) - noon

[ Meeting cancelled until further notice. ]

Communications - Friday, 8 May - 1:00 pm - 3:00 pm

[ Meeting cancelled until further notice. ]

Meetings Next Week:

Programming - Tuesday, 12 May - 5:30 pm (6:00 pm meeting start) - 8:00 pm

We will be running this meeting using Zoom; details later by e-mail.

Web Design - Saturday, 16 May - 1:30 pm (2:00 pm meeting start) - 4:00 pm

We will also be running this meeting using Zoom; details later by e-mail.

Current & Upcoming Meetings:

29 2020/05/02 — 14:00-17:00 — 02 May, Saturday — Penrith Group
30 2020/05/08 — 09:30-12:30 — 08 May, Friday — Friday Forum
31 2020/05/08 — 12:30-15:30 — 08 May, Friday — Communications
32 2020/05/12 — 17:30-20:30 — 12 May, Tuesday — Programming SIG
33 2020/05/16 — 13:30-16:30 — 16 May, Saturday — Web Design
34 2020/05/19 — 09:30-12:30 — 19 May, Tuesday — Tuesday Forum
35 2020/05/22 — 09:30-12:30 — 22 May, Friday — Digital Photography, [ Discontinued ]
36 2020/05/26 — 17:30-20:30 — 26 May, Tuesday — Main Meeting


Tech News:

“What Is Dropshipping, and Is It a Scam?”:

See the How-To Geek article by MATTHEW HUGHES | @matthewhughes | 26 APRIL, 2020, 6:40 am EDT.

The internet has radically changed how retailing works thanks to companies like Amazon and eBay. If you're on Instagram or Facebook, though, you've probably also encountered advertisements for shockingly cheap boutique goods from companies you don't even recognise.

Chances those are brands that don't exist outside of a Shopify storefront. They're merely reselling low-quality Chinese products at marked-up prices. Welcome to the murky world of drop shipping scams.

Dropshipping Is Not a Scam, But Scammers Are Using Dropshipping

A merchant that uses dropshipping is just a middleman. You place an order with that merchant, but another company — a manufacturer, retailer, or wholesaler — ships you the product. The merchant takes his cut and never has to handle the inventory. This technique has been widely used for decades by most legitimate businesses to cut down on storing inventory in multiple locations and ship things to the customer more quickly.

The problem is that these days dropshipping is often used as part of an online get-rich-quick scheme. All you need is a website and some social media advertising, and you can sell people products from your online store. You don't have to keep anything in stock or make anything because someone else manufactures, stores, and ships the actual product.

Let's say a factory in China is selling widgets for $3 each. A drop shipper can set up a website and social media campaign that advertise and sell these fantastic, high-quality widgets for $15 each. The drop shipper might never even handle the widget herself and have no clue about their actual quality.

Whenever an order arrives on the website, the drop shipper purchases a $3 widget and the manufacturer then sends the product to the customer. The drop shipper pockets the extra $12.

All That Glitters Isn't Gold

Most people encounter drop-shipping scam merchants while doing routine tasks, like aimlessly browsing social media. Amidst the baby pictures and deliberately-crafted food snaps, they spot an advertisement for designer-calibre tech or clothing at a low price.

Unlike the easily spotted adverts offering fake Ray-Bans, this ad claims the product comes from an independent boutique. If you click it, you'll see a website that looks professional. There might even be a backstory or photo of the design studio where they make the product. It'll also likely come with an SSL certificate to further suggest legitimacy.

So, you type your credit card details and wait. And wait. Eventually, a package will land on your doorstep, except, instead of coming from a Los Angeles fashion house, it came straight from China.

Disappointment quickly sets in when you realize the product doesn't quite meet your expectations. The material might be all wrong, or the stitching might be low quality. Rather than something that looks like it came straight off the catwalk, you've got something that came from a Goodwill bargain bin.

Stories like this are far too common in the online selling world. You could even argue it's an inevitable part of the business model. Sellers rarely (if ever) quality-check their wares. Neither they nor their customers have any idea how the product looks.

Read more »

“Windows 10 KB4550945 Update Has Serious Problems [ Working Fixes ]”:

See the Techworm article by Anubhav Tyagi | 25 April 2020.

Windows Patch Tuesday Update errors
Microsoft Updates bring more errors.

Soon after the issues caused by the faulty Windows 10 KB4549951 cumulative update, Microsoft released the Windows 10 KB4550945 update to fix the problems caused by the previous update.

As you might have guessed by now, the new update also comes with many new issues. Thankfully, this update does fix some problems caused by the KB4549951 upgrade.

In this article, we have shared the issues addressed by the Windows 10 KB4550945 update accompanied by the problems that it causes.

Lastly, we have also shared several fixes to overcome the issues from the KB4550945 Update.

These are some of the problems that have been fixed by the latest Windows update.

1 — Updates an issue that prevents you from resuming a Microsoft Xbox game on a Windows device after upgrading from a previous version of Windows.

2 — Updates an issue that causes a text box that contains multiple lines of text to stop responding in specific scenarios.

3 — Updates a question that generates unexpected notifications when you change the default application settings.

[ Plus nine other severe errors — Ed. ]

Problems Caused By Windows 10 KB4550945 Update

Microsoft released the KB4550945 Windows 10 update on 21 April. Soon after its release, many users reported that they are facing problems while installing this update on their computers.

Apart from installation issues, this update is causing severe problems like the Blue screen of death, Boot failures, Wi-Fi connectivity issues, and many more.

Numerous users are also facing Wi-Fi connectivity problems after installing this update. In a post on the Windows forum, a user shared the Wi-Fi Problems he has been facing coupled with the fixes he has tried so far.

Since the KB4549951 I have no more Wi-Fi on my computer.

I already tried all of these, unsuccessfully:

Uninstall Update.

Run all the problem resolution software inside Windows.

I have restarted the Services linked to the Network.

Updated the Drivers (The Drivers are up to date for sure now).

Added a USB Wi-Fi Adapter. The adapter doesn't work either.

When I try to seek help with the "Asking For Help" or "Send A Comment" on the top right of the parameter Window, both tell me that I have not connected to the internet, but yes I'm connected with an Ethernet cable. The proof is that I'm writing this post asking for help.

I tried now to install the latest update Of Windows, but it is now stuck with error 0x80070422.

Read more »


I too have seen intermittent Wi-Fi dropouts, including three in a short 90-minute Zoom session! I've uninstalled KB4550945 and KB4549951 and am now waiting with fingers crossed.

I don't want to dump Windows 10, but with severe errors on every monthly update, I will soon have no choice.

Microsoft has now re-installed the KB4549951 fix without any notice! All it asked was, "When can we reboot your machine?" Linux would never do that sort of thing.

I've again uninstalled this update and set the "Pause Updates" until 1 June 2020.

Linux, here we come!

— Ed.

“Why I Still Use a 34-Year-Old IBM Model M Keyboard”:

See the How-To Geek article by BENJ EDWARDS | @benjedwards | 25 APRIL 2020, 6:40 am EDT.

In a world where rapidly changing technology feels increasingly disposable, one thing remains constant in my computer setup. In essence, my 34-year-old IBM 101-key Enhanced Keyboard, commonly known as the Model M. Here's why I'll never give up its clicky keys and ideal layout.

Origins of the Model M

The 1981 IBM PC came with an 83-key keyboard (commonly known as the "Model F"). Reviewers generally admired it, but some criticized elements of its layout and a few awkward key-shapes. Otherwise, it was a beast of a unit — massive and durable, with a buckling spring key-switch design that gave it an industrial feel.

Years ago, I had an e-mail conversation with IBM veteran David Bradley, who worked on the original IBM PC. He told me that between 1983-1984, IBM assembled a 10-person task force to address the criticisms of the original keyboard, so that they could produce a much better replacement. They considered usability studies, ergonomics, and consumer feedback. They also looked at popular designs from competitors, like the DEC LK201, a terminal keyboard that popularized the inverted-T arrow key layout.

The result was the 101-key IBM Enhanced Keyboard. IBM first released it for a terminal in 1985, and PC XT and AT machines in 1986. When most people reference "Model M," they're usually talking about this keyboard, although it technically refers to a family of products with similar characteristics.

The Model M was innovative because it separated its layout into four distinct areas: typing, numeric pad, cursor/screen control, and function keys. It added Alt and Ctrl keys on both sides and two additional Fn keys. Several keys also had increased strike areas, and the Esc key (the "Back/Quit" button in those days) was more isolated to prevent people from accidentally hitting it.

The IBM Enhanced Keyboard was also more cost-effective than the earlier Model F. IBM replaced many metal parts with plastic, and a membrane sheet beneath the buckling springs replaced capacitive switches.

That doesn't mean these savings were passed on to the consumer, however. In 1986, the IBM Enhanced Keyboard cost $295, which is the equivalent of about $695 today. That's some serious dough — but you did get a professional keyboard.

How I Got Hooked on Model M

In the early 1990s, I used a Fujitsu keyboard with a 101-key Enhanced layout for BBSing. I found I could type about 50 per cent faster on it than keyboards with other designs. Then, the dark times came. I spilled so much soda on my Fujitsu, it eventually broke. For the next decade or so, I used the cheap keyboards that came with the PC clones I used.

Around 2001, I got my first Model M keyboard for free at a local hamfest when a vendor gave me an IBM PC AT he didn't want to lug back to his car. It languished as part of my collection until late 2006.

When I started writing professionally, I found myself yearning for a sturdier keyboard with a traditional 101-key layout, like the Fujitsu. I got the Model M out of the closet, and thanks to an AT-to-PS/2 keyboard connector adapter, I could use it on my then-modern PC. Quickly, I was praising the keyboard publicly. I took it apart for PC World in 2008, and I haven't shut up about it since.

[ See the full details of the following paragraphs in the actual article — Ed. ]

The Layout

It Has Exactly the Right Number of Keys

It Sounds and Feels Satisfying

It's Durable

It Stays Put

It's Flexible

It's Minimally Stylish

It's Like an Old Friend

You Can Get One, Too

Model M IBM keyboard
Vintage IBM Model M Keyboard.

If you want to try out a Model M, there are various ways you can do so. You can get one on eBay, or hunt for one at yard sales, flea markets, or thrift stores. Sites like ClickyKeyboards offer refurbished models. You can also buy a modern descendant of the Model M from Unicomp [ in LEXINGTON, KY 40505 USA — Ed. ]

Model M keyboards made during the PS/2 era are not particularly rare — some estimates say that IBM manufactured over 10 million. So, there are a lot of them still floating around, likely in closets, attics, garages, and basements.

If you've set your heart on a vintage model, I'd suggest asking around among friends and relatives. If they have an IBM-brand PC from the mid-to-late 1980s through the mid-1990s sitting around, chances are they have a Model M keyboard as well. Bake them some cookies and casually ask about it next time you stop by.

Solving the Windows Key Dilemma

If you love the Windows key and worry you might miss it while using a vintage Model M, then have no fear. It's possible to map the Windows key to another one you might infrequently use, such as Caps Lock or Right Alt. There are also modern variations of the Model M keyboard that include a Windows Key made by Unicomp.

Read more »

PS: Mine is still in constant use! — Ed.

“Looks like Version 2004 Fixes 100 % Disk Usage”:

See the Reddit comments on 26 April 2020.

Showing high disk-usage under Windows 8, but lower usage under 2004
Windows 2004 Search is less disk-intensive.

PhilipYip — Microsoft has made substantial changes to Windows 10 Search in the way that it indexes files. The screenshot is from an old OptiPlex 7010 with 4 GB of RAM and a 250 GB 3.5" 7200 RPM HDD (a former unit I had lying around to test). Both screenshots are from clean installs updated (so there was no Windows Updating etc. going on in the background) and were on YouTube watching a video. The one at version 1909 throttled the disk usage, and the one at 2004 didn't. The Windows Insider Blog provides more details about the changes. However, this should give a substantial performance boost for those with older hardware:


brdzgt — Did they fix the Start Menu Search after five years finally, by any slim chance?

case_O_The_Mondays — Side note: if I replied "fat chance!" I'd be agreeing with you.

RSPHardcoreGuy — The program named Search Everything is precisely what the Windows Start Menu Search should have been. Total gamechanger.

OverweightPlatypus — Honestly, though. I don't understand how Search Everything is so powerful while Windows Search is so crippled.

Mayor_of_Loserville — It would probably be cheaper for Microsoft to buy Search Everything instead of taking three years in-house.

brdzgt — I can search myself, I want the Start Menu to wise up and do that properly, too. Precisely because I got so used to it just working back in 7. I can achieve that with classic shell or whatever it's called now, but the aesthetic of that is so not 10, it's just ugly here. I know, I know, first world problems lol.

mexter — 5 years? They broke it with the release of Windows 8. Windows 10 just made the problem worse.

brdzgt — Oh, didn't know about that. I skipped 8 and 8.1 altogether, except for a work machine. Luckily that only had 8.1, but I wasn't a fan of that either. I grew not to hate it eventually, though.

Read more »

Fun Facts:

“Mods to the Newsletter's DISCLAIMER paragraph recommended by Grammarly”:

The three suggested mods were: 1) Use a synonym for "specifically"; 2) Change passive voice, and 3) Reduce a wordy sentence.

Old Disclaimer lines:

All Meetings, unless specifically stated above, are held on the…
DISCLAIMER: This Newsletter is provided "As Is" without warranty of any kind.
Each user or reader of this Newsletter assumes complete risk as to the accuracy and subsequent use of its contents.

New Disclaimer lines:

All Meetings, unless explicitly stated above, are held on the…
DISCLAIMER: We provide this Newsletter "As Is" without warranty of any kind.
The reader assumes the entire risk as to the accuracy and subsequent use of its contents.

— Ed.

“How's Your Spanish?”:

A right-triangle has an inscribes semicircle. Find its radius
Find the radius.

Translation: The diagram shows a right triangle with sides of length 5 and 12. What is the radius of the inscribed semicircle?

With a little Pythagoras, some equal tangents, and some similar triangles, you can easily find the answer.

If stuck, see the YouTube video ¿Puedes calcular el radio de la semicircunferencia? Or: Can you calculate the radius of the semicircle?

Video Comment:

Petrus Hari Utomo | One month ago

I don't speak your language, and yet it's all easy to understand. Thank you, bro. Best regards from Indonesia.

— Ed.

Bob Backstrom
~ Newsletter Editor ~

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