2020 Newsletter: 29/54 — PreviousNext — (Attach.)

Sydney Harbour
WEEKLY NEWSLETTER 15 - 20 JUNE 2020

Hello and Welcome,

A comment regarding the recent
General Data Protection Regulation Report.

The GDPR report published by the Guardian in 2018 applies only to the 27 member countries of the European Union. Other nations comprising over 92% of the world's population have their own security and privacy regulations. For a summary of Australia's privacy regulations, check out the Australian Privacy Principles here.

While the current internet safety topic seems focused on cookies, particularly on "tracking cookies", these are generally not dangerous, cookies can be beneficial. They track user's browsing interests, viewing duration, ISP location, etc. but don't know your name or home address. Google is probably the most prolific internet tracker of all, selling selected data to advertisers, and provide their Privacy Policy here. Cookie "names" like _ga, _gid, _utma, etc. shows Google Analytica is tracking you.

Now some good news:

Safari Blocks Third-Party Cookies by Default.

Enhanced Tracking Protection in latest Firefox automatically protects your privacy.

Norton shows how to remove cookies from all popular browsers if you're worried.

Google Chrome reveals: Third-party cookies will be gone by 2022.

Read this recently posted article on the Club's test-site: Most Cookies are Harmless.

In the meantime, enjoy safe browsing.

— John Lucke - June 2020

Jitsi News:

The Programming SIG used the Jitsi conference software on Tuesday, 9 June, for our usual 6 pm meeting.

It is very similar to Zoom but is free to use, and with an unlimited meeting time.

Any of the participants can share screens, and the picture and sound quality are excellent.

Go to the Jitsi website and learn all about it.

“The world's best video conferences are built on Jitsi.

Jitsi is a set of open-source projects that allows you to build and deploy secure video conferencing solutions quickly. At the heart of Jitsi are Jitsi Videobridge and Jitsi Meet, which let you have conferences on the internet. At the same time, other projects in the community enable additional features such as audio, dial-in, recording, and simulcasting.”

Chrome and Vivaldi support the software right in the browser. Some members have reported that it doesn't work in the Edge or Firefox browsers.

It's as good as Zoom, without the restraints of a brief 40-minute limit to a video session.

Try it out. Invitations are sent out by e-mail, so it's easy to set up. No passwords required.

Here is a typical invitation:

We invite you to join a meeting.

Join the meeting:

https: // meet.jit.si/ Not-the-real-meeting-name

— Ed.

SMSA News:

No firm news on the reopening of the Building at 280 Pitt Street, yet.

However, they do offer a "Click and Collect" scheme for borrowing library books using social distancing and other health precautions.

From our President:

I have just rechecked advice for SMSA about reopening of its facilities, and the last information I had was:

SMSA has cancelled all events without any penalty until June 14.

Which is not far away, so, therefore, I expect that I may get some advice from SMSA soon regarding when it may open again.

— Ron Ferguson

How to Click and Collect

Search the Library catalogue or view the New Books list and find the details of the book/s you would like to borrow.

TIP: Please make sure that the titles you are requesting are physical books, not ebooks. You can check this by scrolling to the bottom of the title's catalogue entry. You can also borrow magazines!

Then e-mail the Library your request with "Click and Collect" in the subject.

TIP: During the COVID restrictions, you can borrow ten books at a time, instead of the usual 5.

The Library will e-mail you to let you know when or if the books are available. The checking may take a couple of days, as staff are in the Library only three days a week, and we may need to sterilise books according to health and safety protocols.

IMPORTANT: Please wait for the confirmation e-mail from the Library before heading in to collect your books.

When your books are ready, we will bag them for you to collect on the day specified.

Collecting Your Book/s
Library Hours for Click and Collect

Monday, Wednesday, Friday
10:00 am - 1:00 pm

When you come to collect your book, you are required to comply with the following health and safety measures:

  • Only two people are allowed in the lift at one time.
  • There will be standing room in the lift lobby on level 2 for four people at a time.
  • Please be patient if there is a queue and observe social distancing rules.
  • Strictly no browsing in the Library (or use of computers, etc.)
  • Please follow all health and safety instructions from staff.

Book Returns

There will be a box on Level 2 for you to deposit returned books safely.

Returned books will not be available to borrow for a minimum of 24 hours for health and safety reasons.

— SMSA

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.

Meetings This Week:

Tuesday Forum - Tuesday, 16 Jun - 9:30 am (10:00 am meeting start) - noon

We have cancelled this meeting until further notice.

Web Design - Saturday, 20 Jun - 1:30 pm (2:00 pm meeting start) - 4:00 pm

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

Hi Everyone,

Responsive design is the idea of building a site that works and looks good on any device.

The idea turned ten last month, so I thought we could have a look at the original design as coined by Ethan Marcotte and how it has developed over those ten years.

Here is a link to the original article:

https://­alistapart.com/­article/­responsive-web-design/.

— Steve South

Meeting Next Week:

Main Meeting - Tuesday, 23 Jun - 5:30 pm (6:00 pm meeting start) - 8:00 pm

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

Current & Upcoming Meetings:
— ALL IN-PERSON MEETINGS CANCELLED UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE —

37 2020/06/06 — 14:00-17:00 — 06 Jun, Saturday — Penrith Group
38 2020/06/09 — 17:30-20:30 — 09 Jun, Tuesday — Programming SIG
39 2020/06/12 — 09:30-12:30 — 12 Jun, Friday — Friday Forum
40 2020/06/12 — 12:30-15:30 — 12 Jun, Friday — Communications
41 2020/06/16 — 09:30-12:30 — 16 Jun, Tuesday — Tuesday Forum
42 2020/06/20 — 13:30-16:30 — 20 Jun, Saturday — Web Design
43 2020/06/23 — 17:30-20:30 — 23 Jun, Tuesday — Main Meeting
44 2020/06/26 — 09:30-12:30 — 26 Jun, Friday — Digital Photography, [ Discontinued ]

ASCCA News:


Tech News:

“Facebook News Launches in the US With Updated "Integrity Standards"”:

See the reviewgeek article by ANDREW HEINZMAN | @andrew_andrew__ | 10 JUNE 2020, 12:31 pm EDT.

Facebook is trying its hand at News again. The website just launched a dedicated section for journalism, aptly titled Facebook News. According to Facebook, they vet the new News section by a team of actual humans and includes hundreds of local and national sources.

Read more »

“Nasty Windows 10 Update bug is killing monitors: What to do”:

Referred by Jeff Garland: See the Tom's-Guide article by Henry T. Casey | 11 June 2020.

Did everyone note the "Nasty Widows" in the above URL? It's still in the headline of the Tom's-Guide article as of today, 13 June 2020.
If Tom's-Guide changes or corrects the URL, try going to https://­www.tomsguide.com/­news­and search for the story yourself — Ed.


Spelling mistake in Nasty Widows headline

The latest Windows 10 update is turning external monitors black

The new Windows 10 update, also known as Windows 10 May 2020 and Windows 10 2004, was blocked — by Microsoft — from specific devices for a good reason. Its latest bug, which Microsoft acknowledges but has no solution for yet, basically kills your external displays.

Don't worry, though, if and when you see this flaw in the flesh. Your monitors haven't gone the way of the dodo.

According to a Microsoft support forum post, external displays connected to PCs running Windows 10 version 2004 can go black once you try and use a drawing feature. The black screen happens both in Microsoft's Office apps and "other apps capable of drawing, such as Whiteboard."

To troubleshoot and check if this is precisely what's happened on your system, open Device Manager (click the Start menu and type in and select "Device Manager") and look under Display adapters, for a yellow triangle with the "!" character in it.

Microsoft doesn't give a timeframe for when it will resolve the bug, but says it's "working to fix the issue in a future version of the operating system."

Windows 10 2004 black screens: What to do

To get your external display working again, restart your system. But you don't want to fix that screen alone. You want to get productive again.

There are multiple options for how to work with and around this issue, starting with merely not using drawing functions in Windows 10 apps. I'm sure the creatives out there who connect a laptop to an external monitor and use a WACOM tablet to draw are not happy about that idea.

So, my advice for the matter is to roll back the Windows 10 2004 update. Do not skip step 1 — backing up your system — as doing any system-level changes like this always come with an inherent risk.

  • Back up all of your data. We suggest using our best cloud backup services.
  • Click Windows + I (that's I, not L), which opens Settings.
  • Click Update & Security.
  • Click Recovery on the left side of the screen.
  • Under "Go back to the previous version of Windows 10" click Get Started.
  • Select an option, such as "My apps or devices don't work on this build."
  • Click "No, thanks" when Windows 10 offers to look for an update that fixes this update.
  • Click Next.
  • Click Next.
  • Click "Go back to an earlier build."

Read more »

Unbelievable — Ed.

“Google Sued Over Incognito Mode”:

See the Infopackets article by John Lister on 9 June 2020 at 01:06 pm EDT.

Google faces a class-action lawsuit over claims it "misled users of Chrome's private browsing mode." But suggestions users are in for a $5,000 windfall are premature.

That's the minimum amount the lawsuit seeks per affected user, though for starters that assumes not only that the plaintiffs win the case, but that the court agrees to that amount. It also believes the lawyer fees don't reduce the amount and that anyone eligible can sign up to the case and provide any necessary proof.

The crux of the case, brought in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California, is a claim that Google unlawfully collects data about users without their consent or knowledge when they use the "Incognito" mode.

Private Browsing Warning

On the face of it, Google is clear about what it doesn't save during Incognito mode, namely "Your browsing history", "Cookies and site data" and "Information entered in forms." It does warn that website operators, employers, schools and Internet service providers might still be able to track user activity.

However, the lawsuit alleges that Google continues to track user activity while using Incognito mode. This view comes from services offered to websites, such as Google Analytics (which provides stats about visitors to a site), Google Ad Manager, and tools such as one that lets users sign into a website using their Google account. The lawsuit says "70 per cent of all online publishers use such a service." (Source: bloomberglaw.com)

To provide these services, Google does collect information about a user's browsing activities, even when using Incognito Mode. For example, when somebody visits a website, Google can provide details of the last site they were on, which can help site operators see which inbound links are most effective.

A Matter Of Perspective

Google says it will defend the claims vigorously and notes that the warning covers such data collection about website operators seeing users' activity. (Source: bbc.co.uk)

The heart of the case is thus the plaintiff's argument that Google doesn't stress this enough, mainly that it doesn't make clear that it's collecting the data that is then seen by website operators.

Read more »

“The Latest 4 GB Raspberry Pi 4 Update Drops Wi-Fi Frequently”:

When Raspberry Pi released version 4 about September or October 2019, the 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi worked perfectly. YouTube videos were smooth, with no skipped frames.

Fast forward to this month, where I thought I'd update the OS (yes, I know, I know!). This OS is the Raspberry Pi recommended Raspbian (Buster) version.

You issue two commands: "Sudo apt update" which retrieves the list of servers which house the Raspbian modules; the second: "Sudo apt upgrade (or full-upgrade)" to download and install the many hundreds of modules changed since the initial release.

They only take a few minutes to install and then you re-boot.

But then the Wi-Fi started dropping out. The indicator on the top line of the screen showed a RED icon where the standard blue wave-like icon usually sits.

In the middle of a YouTube video, there's a delay of about 15 seconds while it automatically reconnects. Normal browsing says "No internet", but it's back in 15 seconds.

INFURIATING.

During the intermittent connect-time, I managed to copy all the /home/pi files to Windows, then verify that we copied all the data correctly.

Here is the 2.66 GB original download file (from October 2019): Thu 17/10 Oct/2019 12:20 pm 2,664,314,355 2019-09-26-raspbian-buster-full.zip.

This zipped file contains an image file of size 6.81 GB: 2019-09-26-raspbian-buster-full.img.

Here is the program, balenaEtcher, which copied the data to the 64 GB μSD card via a Tevion card reader/writer (thus returning it to the October 2019 state):


Copying an image file to the 64 GB μSD card

The etching took about a half-hour or so and then the Raspberry Pi booted up correctly. And, more importantly, gives rock-steady Wi-Fi again.

Now begins the customising that will take a few days before getting back to where we were.

The first thing to change was the screen-resolution. By default, the Operating System sets it to 3840 x 2160 (or 4K resolution on my smart TV). The screen font is so small that it is tough to read from my lounge chair at 4 m or so distance. I reset it to 1920 x 1080 (or HD resolution) — much better.

The moral of the story: Don't upgrade unless Raspberry Pi have fixed some serious, known bugs.

— Ed.


Fun Facts:

“A4 Paper and a Clever Hash Function”:

Last week's puzzler:

Here is a puzzle involving the folding of an A4 piece of paper.

See the YouTube video by Matt Parker, 11 Jan 2016, from the standupmaths Channel.

A4 paper has proportions of top (1) × side (√2). Start by folding the top edge down so that it co-insides with the left-hand side of the paper.

The paper now has a top square marked out and a smaller-sized rectangle at the bottom.

Then fold over a triangle from the rectangle so that the former vertical edge rests horizontally at the bottom of the first fold.

See three screen-shots showing the progress so far:


Showing the original A4 piece of paper      Showing the first fold top-to-side      Showing the second fold in the rectangle, below

The problem is now to find the perimeter of the new shape.

Solution:

Showing the shape with sides labelled A-E

Side B is equal to 1 (the width of the A4 sheet).

Side A is equal to √2 - 1 since it is the original length of the long side, minus 1 unit (B).

Side C is √2 since it is the diagonal of a square of side 1.

Side D is the diagonal of a square with side A = √2 - 1, i.e. √2 × (√2 - 1) = 2 - √2.

And, finally, E = 1 - (√2 - 1) = 2 - √2, interestingly the same length as D.

Summarizing:

A = √2 - 1, B = 1, C = √2, D = 2 - √2 and E = 2 - √2.

The sum, A to E, is (√2 - 1) + (1) + (√2) + (2 - √2) + (2 - √2). The √2s all cancel out, leaving the answer as 4 units.

Amazing

Now to see if this is the right answer.

The method:

Take the value that you get and enter it into your calculator.

That's 4.

Press the √ calculator key five times.

This procedure gives 1.044273­782427­4138403…

Read out the first six non-zero digits after the decimal point.

These are "442737".

Sort them into ascending order.

We get "234477".

If you get the number 234477, then you have the correct answer.

We were right!

Amazing — Ed.


Bob Backstrom
~ Newsletter Editor ~

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