2020 Newsletter: 23/54 — PreviousNext — (Attach.)

Sydney Harbour

Hello and Welcome,

Meetings This 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.

Meeting Next Week:

Tuesday Forum - Tuesday, 19 May - 9:30 am (10:00 am meeting start) - noon

We have cancelled this meeting until further notice.

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


“ASCCA MAY 2020 Newsletter”:

Greetings to you all,

Tomorrow, Sunday 10 May, will be Mother's Day so may I wish a happy Mother's Day to all who are Mums, Nannas and Grandmas and all those who took on the role of Mothering when they were needed? I am sure you will all find a way to send messages, to show that you care, to those you know who should be the recipients of Mother's Day wishes. What a difference technology has made for us during the challenges of COVID-19!

Thank you to the Bunbury, WA, club for your message. Perhaps other clubs will take the hint and let us know what exciting programs and ideas you have come up with to keep your members involved and active while, of necessity, your clubroom is closed. Keeping connected is vital for all clubs and their members.

Included in this Newsletter is an NBN Co Announcement, a situation vacant on the ASCCA Board, and a question, "Do you have a garden?"

Thanks to Connecting Up for details of free or cheap resources to help ease the transition to remote working for clubs and their members.

Yes, Shades of SWADE are still actively at work.

There is also an advance notice about an exciting opportunity from Apple for ASCCA club members; watch your inbox mid-week for details!

The Newsletter is available on the ASCCA website.

Take care, stay safe, keep connected.

Fond regards, Nan.

Nan Bosler, AM

Jenny Willcox

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:

“Microsoft Drops Dual-Screen Windows”:

See the Infopackets article by John Lister on 6 May 2020 at 01:05 pm EDT.

Microsoft is rethinking its plans for a completely new version of Windows 10. It's no longer going to target "Windows 10X" at dual-screen devices for the simple reason that not many people are interested in such devices right now.

Microsoft initially designed Windows 10X to be a separate system to the widely used Windows 10.

The idea was to get ahead of the competition with fold-out laptops that have a touchscreen on both halves of the fold. That's instead of having a screen and a physical keyboard. Microsoft designed such devices to give users an ample screen space and a more practical way to have multiple windows open in a single portable device.

That brings three challenges for an operating system: the user not having a physical keyboard, the possibility of windows stretching "across the fold", and a substantial change in layout between portrait and landscape mode.

Microsoft concluded that a separate version of Windows was the easiest way to handle these challenges, with several tweaks and some ditched features such as the Start Menu and the Cortana virtual assistant.

Read more »

“Audi sets up Virtual Purchase System at Australian Showrooms”:

See the iTWire article by Sam Varghese | Wednesday, 06 May 2020 09:50.

German automobile manufacturer Audi has put in place a system whereby would-be customers can pick, book and pay for a vehicle, all without venturing outside their homes, and claims it is the first premium automobile brand in Australia to do so.

The company said that its full range of models could be reserved, with a refundable fee of $500, and we could complete the sales transaction without a visit to a showroom.

Presumably, Audi is aiming at those who are not receiving the JobSeeker or JobKeeper Government stipends.

"At a time like this, where many Australians would rather make their purchases from the security of their own home, we wanted to create a tailored online solution. This allows Audi customers to do just that," said Nikki Warburton, chief customer and marketing officer at Audi Australia.

"It's important that this solution feels very premium, in line with our brand promise, and that customers have the flexibility within the platform to satisfy their tastes. We're delighted to have achieved this, allowing customers to choose their Audi based on what's important to them, and then secure it before finalising the purchase with a dealer."

"It's a fast, flexible and easy solution that is seamlessly integrated into our sales process, providing customers with an entirely new way to begin an Audi purchase: from the comfort and security of their home," said Warburton.

After the customer books a vehicle, the dealer who has that model in stock will contact the customer within two working hours to answer any questions, arrange a "virtual walkaround" or test-drive if required, or to finalise the sale (including finance).

We will then arrange the delivery of the new Audi if the customer is happy with this option.

But those who prefer a face-to-face deal can opt for it. A change of mind will not result in any financial penalty.

Read more »

“COVIDSafe App - an update to why you should avoid it”:

Author's Opinion — The views in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of iTWire.

See the iTWire article by David Heath | Monday, 04 May 2020 02:32.

I have read the privacy policy so you wouldn't have to; there are other problems too.

I believe the Australian Government must urgently fix this fatal flaw, although it is not obvious how.

I wrote previously about issues with the Australian Government's recently-released COVIDSafe app for Android and iPhone and how the Government's history with data protections left everyone rather wary. I strongly suggest you read that piece before continuing.

Since the release at 6 pm last Sunday, there have been approximately 4 million downloads — well short of the 40% they claim would be required to achieve sufficient coverage. Statistics I've seen suggest around 16.5 million Australian adults have at least one smartphone, so 40% would be about 6.6 million. Demographic data indicates that Australia's total population is 25.5 million (approx.) with around 6 million aged below 16 (and not directly authorised to install it), meaning 19.5 million people are eligible to have the app and 3 million with no phone to install it on. So, we're not even half-way there. And the take-up rate appears to be declining.

That's 24% of phones have installed the app (with no statistics on how many have subsequently removed it) and 20.5% of the total adult population. I have never been clear on whether the Government's 40% penetration related to phone ownership or total adult population but either way, I strongly doubt we will ever get there. Perhaps if the app were launched two months ago at the beginning of the problem, it would have been more useful.

It seems the Government has poisoned this well too many times. By the way, when the app's official launch happened (a little over a week ago) did anyone else notice that the Minister was surrounded by medical people all asking us to help them. Still, there wasn't one single person there with IT, privacy or security credentials. Telling, I thought.

Further, there have been warnings in a tweet from Diabetes Australia that the app is interfering with sub-skin continuous glucose monitor (CGM) systems. These devices continuously monitor glucose levels for people with diabetes and communicate (oddly enough) using Bluetooth.

Twitter: Diabetes Australia on Wednesday, 3 May 2020.

*** Important information for CGM users ***

No need to panic!

We have received reports from several people
with diabetes who have downloaded the Australian
Government COVIDSafe app to their smartphone
that they have experienced connection problems
with their continuous glucose monitoring (CGM)

11:31 AM · 30 Apr 2020

Diabetes Australia has recommended CGM users uninstall the app if they have it.

Over the weekend, we learned that although the app has been available for over a week, state health authorities cannot currently access and use the contact data. If I found out LAST MONDAY that I was either afflicted or had come in contact with someone who was, I'd hit the "I'm Unclean" button.

And then, NOTHING WOULD HAPPEN. The Australian Government says that it will finalise the rules later this coming week. I think the technical term is "couldn't organise a <nice activity> in a <suitable location>."

In my earlier piece, I touched on the Privacy Policy and pointed out some deficiencies.

After a deeper reading, it seems there is a fatal flaw.

The policy discusses that you can use a pseudonym and also that you must provide your mobile number. That is enough to constitute personal information. That's fine. The policy describes storage rules, usage, correction and deletion.

However, we also know that when the devices make contact, they will exchange details between the two devices.

Personal information

Of course, we can delete the app from our device, and the Australian Government promises that our data also goes. But here is where the difficulty comes in.

If I have been close to you for 15 minutes, and we both have the app, we will exchange the appropriate personal information. Next, I get cold feet and delete the app.

Even though the app deletes my information from my device, your app does NOT delete it from your device. There is no way to achieve this. The app is all or nothing — the only way we could remove my information is if you delete it too.

Worse, if you hit the "I'm Unclean" button, my app will upload the details as part of the contact package. If that happens, there is no way to remove it. The privacy statement is unambiguous: "To ensure maximum security of your COVIDSafe data, you will not be able to access your data held in the data store."

My reading of current privacy legislation is that this is not legal. Please, someone, correct me if I'm wrong.

As a final 'aside,' if any European citizen is currently in Australia and installs the app, GDPR will apply. I believe it also identifies the same problem.

We have contacted the Department Privacy Officer, but as we wrote this article in the early hours of Monday morning, they have made no immediate response. If appropriate, we will respond.

Read more»

“Intel's 'Comet Lake-S' 10th-gen Core CPUs hit ten cores and 5.3GHz speeds”:

See the PCWorld article by Mark Hachman | Senior Editor, PCWorld | APR 30, 2020 6:00 am PDT.

You can turn off hyperthreading on a per-core basis, allowing gamers to cut unnecessary power and push the remaining cores into turbo mode for longer.

Intel's latest 10th-gen "Comet Lake-S" desktop processors solve the hyperthreading issues that plagued Intel's 9th-gen chips. They introduce a unique wrinkle: the ability to dial hyperthreading on and off on a per-core basis. The fastest of the thirty-two new chips push clock speeds up to 5.3GHz, though that's specific to a single core. Intel boasts the 10-core/20-thread Core i9-10900K will be the world's fastest gaming processor, a claim that we're eager to test.

Also in the mix, Intel offered two derivatives: specific F-series parts that lack integrated GPU cores, as well as ten T-series 35W chips optimized for small-form-factor designs.

Though overall base clock speeds appear to be higher than those offered in the Coffee Lake-R chips we saw a year ago, however, don't be fooled by the 10th-gen nomenclature. These are still 14nm parts, with the same UHD 630 integrated GPU as the prior generation. Comet Lake-S will also require new LGA 1200 socket motherboards to accommodate TDP power that has climbed to 125W in places.

Intel's promising double-digit performance increases when we compare Comet Lake to the 9th-gen Coffee Lake, and substantially more versus an older PC. The real question, of course, is whether Intel's new Comet Lake chips will be able to up-end AMD's world-beating 16-core Ryzen 3950X desktop chip and its Threadripper counterparts, the 32-core 3970X and 64-core 3990X. Not surprisingly, Intel's emphasis is on the need for single-core performance, its traditional area of strength.

Comet Lake-S: The chips themselves

Brandt Guttridge, Intel's senior director for desktop and workstation product marketing, explained that Intel is seeking to improve clock speed, tunability, and real-world performance. Intel didn't say as much, but some of what Intel is offering appears to try and minimize its power disadvantage relative to Ryzen while maximizing Comet Lake's time in turbo mode to push performance higher.

The Core i9-10900K lists for the same price as the Core i9-9900K did, initially: $488, though the $262 Intel is charging for the Core i5-10600K 6-core/12-thread part may attract more buyers. You'll notice the power consumption of many of these new chips now touches 125W, versus the 95W consumed by many 9th-gen chips. (AMD's Ryzen 9 3950X consumes 105W, though it costs over $700 on Amazon; the 105W Ryzen 9 3900X costs $409.)

Intel will also continue to sell F-series versions of the Comet Lake processors. The F-series chips ship with the integrated graphics disabled, requiring customers to use a discrete GPU instead. They're cheaper, but they also allow Intel to sell a CPU whose integrated graphics fails testing, producing more revenue for the company.

Read more »

Fun Facts:

“How's Your Spanish?”:

Last week's puzzler:

A right-triangle has an inscribed 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.


Use Pythagoras to find the hypotenuse
Find the hypotenuse, then the ratio of similar triangles.

The hypotenuse of the main triangle is 13, since 132 = 122 + 52 = 144 + 25 = 169.

Then equal tangents from C gives the length of CE = 5, making AE = 8.

Similar triangles AED and ABC (a common angle at A and right angles at E and B) gives 8 / 12 = r / 5, thus giving the answer r = 10 / 3.

— Ed.

“Telescoping Series”:

Can you find the sum of the infinite series: 1/(1 · 2) + 1/(2 · 3) + 1/(3 · 4) + … ?

The typical term is of the form: 1/(n · (n+1)), which we can express as 1/n - 1/(n+1).

Multiplying that out gives: ((n+1) - (n)) / (n · (n+1)) or: 1/(n · (n+1)).

This means that the sum is: (1/1 - 1/2) + (1/2 - 1/3) + (1/3 - 1/4) + … where the terms, after the initial 1/1, cancel out in pairs.

The final answer is, therefore, equal to 1.

A slightly harder sum is the series: 1/(1 · 6) + 1/(2 · 7) + 1/(3 · 8) + 1/(4 · 9) + …

In this series, the typical term is 1/(n · (n+5)), or 1/5 · (1/n - 1/(n+5)), so do these terms also "cancel out" after a while?

They do, but can you find the sum?

Adding 500,000,000 terms, I get the sum equal to:


But just what is this number?

Hint 1: Write out the first dozen or so terms, using the "difference" format, and you'll see the pattern. It is a telescoping sum similar to the first series, above.

Hint 2: Multiply the above number by 300, and you'll see something interesting.

— Ed.

“What is the Plural of Guru?”:

See the Computerworld article by Woody Leonhard, Columnist, Computerworld | 8 MAY 2020 0:29 AEST.

Odd problems remain unresolved but get the April Windows and Office patches installed despite persistent reports of pesky problems with April's updates; there doesn't seem to be a single point of pain. You need to watch out for the long-documented 'missing' data/zapped desktop bug, and your printers may get knocked offline, but by and large, now's a good time to install the April patches.

They must be joking! — Ed.

Several high-profile security Guri, including Patch Lady Susan Bradley, have called on Microsoft to open up its April 2020 Win7 patches to everybody, particularly considering the number of people who are working from home, on older machines, through no fault of their own. I echoed that call in "Five steps Microsoft should take RIGHT NOW to help us through the pandemic." It doesn't look like Microsoft's going to do it. A pity because giving away the patches in these traumatic times would be a magnanimous gesture, quite unlike the old Microsoft.

Read more »

PS: Question Answer: One Guru; two Guri. [ In English, I'm sure it's just "Gurus". — Ed. ]

Bob Backstrom
~ Newsletter Editor ~

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