2020 Newsletter: 25/54 — PreviousNext — (Attach.)

Sydney Harbour

Hello and Welcome,

Computer Club Dues:

We respectfully ask Members whose annual memberships fall due to pay as usual.

The Club is still providing services to Members, like Zoom meetings, and technical advice through e-mail and other means.

Thank you all.

Payment details:

General — $45
Senior / Pensioner — $40
Under 21 — $25

Cheque subscription payments are no longer accepted, but you may deposit cash at any NAB branch.

Bank Transfer: To "Sydney PC User Group Incorporated", BSB/Account: 082-080 579584892.

IMPORTANT: Please identify your payment with your name when making a bank transfer.

For new memberships, you can print out the Membership Form for joining at a future face-to-face Club Main meeting.

— The Club Committee.

Meeting This Week:

Main Meeting - Tuesday, 26 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.

Meeting Next Week:

Penrith Group - Saturday, 6 Jun - 2:00 pm - 5:00 pm

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

37 2020/06/06 — 14:00-17:00 — 06 Jun, Saturday — Penrith Group


“Senior Buddy Project”:

Greetings to ASCCA clubs across Australia.

Apple is inviting club members who use an Apple device to join in a Senior Buddy Project! It is a free remote learning opportunity.

Every member who is interested in participating in this free project needs to send an expression of interest to ascca@ascca.org.au. Apple will send details of what is required to make sure they form small groups of similar knowledge levels in the attached invitation file: "Senior Buddy Project invitation.pdf".

This Senior Buddy Project is indeed an exciting opportunity to learn while having fun!

Nan Bosler, AM

Ed. — See also attached file: "ASCCA News to Use Peruse and Amuse - Vol 22 4a.pdf" to keep you all going in these difficult times.

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:

“A Strange Thing has Happened to Grammarly”:

Comparing Grammarly on Edge, Chrome and Vivaldi
This screen-shot shows Grammarly in the Edge, Chrome and Vivaldi browsers.

The other day I noticed that instead of hitting the New Document option which then shows a web-page to paste text for checking, Grammarly now says, "SIGN UP it's free" on Vivaldi.

Other browsers, like Edge and Chrome, show the correct behaviour (as did Vivaldi until a few days ago).

To add insult to injury, the Login process (using my Google Login) never completes. The circling pattern just continues.

Does anyone have any clue about this?

Very annoying — Ed.

“All Microsoft's PowerToys for Windows 10, Explained”:

See the How-To Geek article by CHRIS HOFFMAN | @chrisbhoffman | UPDATED 20 MAY 2020, 11:58 am EDT.

Microsoft is hard at work on PowerToys for Windows 10. This open-source project adds many powerful features to Windows, from a bulk file renamer to an Alt+Tab alternative that lets you search for windows from your keyboard.

We originally published this article on 1 April 2020. We've updated it with information about the latest PowerToys, which Microsoft released on 19 April 2020.

How to Get Microsoft PowerToys

You can download PowerToys from GitHub and enable the features you want from within the PowerToys Settings application. It's free and open-source. Download the MSI file from the website and double-click it to install it.

To access PowerToys settings after installing and launching the application, locate the PowerToys icon in the notification area (system tray) on your taskbar, right-click it, and select "Settings."

How to Update PowerToys

Do you have an older version of PowerToys installed? You can now check for updates right from the General Settings pane. Under General Settings, scroll down and click "Check for updates" at the bottom of the pane to check for a new version.

In version 0.18, you can also enable a "Download updates automatically" feature to have PowerToys automatically download and install updates.

If you don't see the "Check for Updates" button, you'll have to download the latest PowerToys package from GitHub and install it to update.

PowerToys Run, a Quick Application Launcher

PowerToys Run is a text-based application launcher with a search feature. Unlike the standard Windows Run dialogue (Win+R), it has a search feature. Unlike the Start menu's search box, it's all about launching things on your computer instead of searching the web with Bing.

In addition to applications, PowerToys Run can quickly find files. It can even find and switch to open windows — by searching for their window title.

To open it, press Alt+Space. This keyboard shortcut is customizable from the PowerToys Run pane in PowerToys Settings.

Start typing for a phrase to search for applications, files, and even open windows. Use the arrow keys to select an item in the list (or keep typing to narrow it down) and press Enter to launch the application, open the file, or switch to the window.

PowerToys Run has some other features, like an "Open as Administrator" and "Open Containing Folder" button for each option in the list. In the future, it will have plug-ins like a calculator.

Ed. — Other points of interest in the article:

Keyboard Manager, for Remapping Keyboard Shortcuts

PowerRename, a Bulk File Renamer

Image Resizer, a Bulk Image Resizer

FancyZones, a Zone-Based Window Manager

Shortcut Guide (for the Windows Key)

File Explorer Preview (for SVG and Markdown)

What Happened to Window Walker?

The PowerToys package is still in its early stages, with more tools planned before the 1.0 release. Microsoft expects to release the final version in September 2020.

We'll keep this article updated with new features as they're released.

Read more »

“The Best Free Microsoft Office Alternatives”:

See the How-To Geek article by JOEL CORNELL | @vrothgarr | 18 MAY 2020, 6:40 am EDT.

While Microsoft Office is still the ubiquitous choice for word processing, slideshow presentations, spreadsheet calculations, and many more digital tasks, there are still plenty of free alternatives. Avoid freeware full of ads and check out these free productivity suites.

Microsoft Office is mainly composed of Microsoft Word for documents, Microsoft PowerPoint for presentations, and Microsoft Excel for spreadsheets. Microsoft Office is available through a subscription to Microsoft 365 that costs $69.99/year, or $6.99/month for a single account. Family accounts with up to six users run a bit higher at $99.99/year, or $9.99/month. Alternatively, you can download one of these lovely suites for free and start being productive right away.

LibreOffice: Open-Source Desktop Apps

Like the best free software, LibreOffice is an open-source project from The Document Foundation that was initially part of another Office alternative, OpenOffice. You can download LibreOffice for free personal use on Windows, Mac, and Linux. Just keep in mind that, as an open-source application, LibreOffice does not provide support or assistance of its own.

Larger companies that want to use this alternative may want to look into professional support from approved third-parties before engaging LibreOffice at the enterprise level. While businesses may save by paying for reliable solutions, many governments around the world are opting for LibreOffice to escape Microsoft's costly enterprise agreements.

LibreOffice Writer, Calc, and Impress are the main offerings that correlate with Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, respectively. These tools are also available online through web-based versions called LibreOffice Online. As above, these tools are primarily intended for personal use, although businesses can engage them with proper support. LibreOffice also offers open-source applications for image editing (Draw), formulas (Math), and database management (Base). You can get started by downloading the LibreOffice suite for free from its website.

Google Drive: Web-Based Work Apps From Google

Google Drive is one of the most popular free alternatives to Microsoft Office because it comes from one of Microsoft's biggest competitors. Google offers completely free service and support for a wide range of applications that match those in Microsoft Office. Favourite user-friendly apps like Google Docs, Slides, Sheets, and Drawings are all available for free.

All of these apps use Google's cloud storage service, Google Drive. In addition to these primary G Suite apps, Google offers apps like Forms and Classroom that can cater to unique needs like those of teachers. A vast number of third-party tools like Zoho, LucidChart, Slack, and more provide native integration with Google's many apps.

Having your productivity suite based entirely on the cloud offers additional security, as it's more unlikely to lose track of your files. While businesses may need to pay Google a modest sum for enterprise-level support, Google's productivity suite is a great free choice for any personal endeavour. Get started today by creating a free Google account. If you want to upgrade your apps or use them professionally, you can explore Google's G Suite service, which comes with more storage, features, and support.

Ed. — Other topics covered in the article:

iWork: Not Just for Mac Users Anymore

WPS Office: Familiar Interfaces Across All Platforms

FreeOffice: Versatile Productivity on Most Devices

Microsoft Office Online: Fewer Features But No Cost

If none of these options appeals to your unique needs, or you want or need to stay with Microsoft products, basic versions of the ubiquitous productivity apps are available for free through any web browser. From any desktop or mobile device, you can sign up for a free Microsoft account and start using slightly limited versions of Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. You can get started by navigating any browser to Office.com and signing into or up for a free Microsoft account.

Countless other productivity apps exist out there, but these six are the best of the best when it comes to getting your work done quickly, reliably, and most importantly, for free.

Read more »

Fun Facts:

“Can You Solve a Puzzle Unsolved Since 1996?”:

See the Scientific American article 1 October 2014.

Warning: The Scientific American lets you read only a handful of articles free. I just got a warning at "3 left" — Ed.

A challenge that the famous puzzler Martin Gardner put forward long ago remains open.

For thousands of years, people have played with magic squares — arrays of different numbers whose rows, columns and diagonals add to the same total. A simple 3-by-3 matrix that sums to 15 every which way appears on the back of a turtle in the legend of Lo Shu, a Chinese tale from 650 B.C. Medieval mathematicians in the Middle East and India studied magic squares of varying sizes. Albrecht Dürer included a 4-by-4 magic square in his famous engraving, Melencolia I, in 1514. Today amateur and professional mathematicians continue to devise new magic squares, even adding extra dimensions to envision 3-D magic cubes and 4-D magic tesseracts.

Leonhard Euler, an 18th-century mathematician, puzzled over another type of exotic magic square, one made entirely of squared numbers. In 1770 he introduced the first 4-by-4 example of a magic square of squares (below), along with a formula for producing others.

"Permettez-moi, Monsieur, que je vous parle encore d'un problème qui me paraît fort curieux et digne de toute attention."

[ Allow me, Sir, to speak to you again of a problem which seems to me to be very curious and worthy of attention. ]

This letter is from Leonhard Euler, 1770, sending his 4×4 magic square of squares to Joseph Lagrange.

682    292    412    372
172    312    792    322
592    282    232    612
112    772      82    492

Many 4-by-4 magic squares of squares are now known, and in 2004 Christian Boyer reported the first examples of 5-by-5, 6-by-6 and 7-by-7 magic squares of squares. To date, though, no one has discovered a 3-by-3 magic square of squares nor has anyone proved it impossible.

In 1996 Martin Gardner, who had written Scientific American's Mathematical Games column for some 25 years, offered a $100 prize to anyone who could devise a solution. A year later magic square expert Lee Sallows described a near miss (see below), with only one diagonal summing differently (going from the top left to the bottom right yields 38,307, not 21,609 — the total in all other directions).

  1272     462    582
      22   1132    942
    742     822    972

So far, that's as close as anyone has gotten. Will you be the first to solve either problem? Post solutions and magic squares of your design below. If enough exciting submissions come in, we will feature some in a future blog post at www.­ScientificAmerican.­com.

This article was originally published with the title "Let the Games Continue" in Scientific American 311, 4, (October 2014).

Here are two interesting Mathematical papers on the subject:

Magic Squares of Squares by Paul Pierrat, François Thiriet and Paul Zimmermann from 13 March 2015 and

A search for 3x3 magic squares having more than six square integers among their nine different numbers by Christian Boyer, France, 16 September 2004.

Read more »

Bob Backstrom
~ Newsletter Editor ~

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