2020 Newsletter: 30/89 — PreviousNext — (Attach.)

Sydney Harbour

Hello and Welcome,

The June Main Meeting will start on Zoom at eleven am
on Tuesday morning, 23 June:

See meeting details below.

— Alex

Subject: Venue Hire Reopening 6 July:

Dear Hirers,

The Sydney Mechanics' School of Arts is delighted to announce the reopening of Venue Hire on Monday, 6 July.

We must adhere to current social distancing guidelines; there are some venue capacity restrictions that we must temporarily observe.

All meeting rooms on Level 1 will be in Double Room configuration (walls open). We will not be offering single rooms at this time.

The max. capacity in this space is 14 attendees in total. If you usually hold your event in a single room, you will not incur any extra charges due to this room configuration. We will charge for any additional Audio-Visual or other equipment as usual.

The L1 Mitchell Theatre can facilitate 50 people, including presenters/staff.

The L1 Lobby can accommodate up to 28 people at one time. If you plan on using the lobby as breakout space, please let me know, so we can ensure all groups can use the area without exceeding this capacity.

The Norman Selfe room on Level 3 can seat eight people, and the Tom Keneally Centre will facilitate ten attendees.

For your safety, we have installed Hand Sanitiser dispensers on both the Ground Floor lobby and Level 1 lobby between the lifts. Our cleaners are already paying extra attention to high contact surfaces (door handles, tabletops, etc.), and the SMSA will continue to monitor this.

There will be an attendance register for all hirers to sign inside each room, where attendees are required to record their name, e-mail address and phone numbers for risk management purposes.

I will be reviewing my booking calendar over the next week. To accommodate the current restrictions, some room reshuffling may be required, and I will contact any groups that this applies to directly. We will take every measure to ensure you are still able to hold your events at the SMSA with the least amount of disruption.

I will also keep you updated on any changes relating to capacity restrictions as the guidelines change.

If you have any questions about the reopening and how these changes may affect your event, please do not hesitate to contact me. We appreciate your patience while we navigate the necessary changes required to ensure Venue Hire at the SMSA is safe for all visitors to the building.

I look forward to welcoming you all back in July.

Kind Regards,

Kylie Campbell
Venue & Building Services Coordinator

SMSA (Sydney Mechanics' School of Arts)
280 Pitt Street, Sydney NSW 2000
02 9262 7300 | smsa.org.au

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, 23 Jun - 11:00 am - 12:30 pm

We will be running this meeting using Zoom.

June Main Meeting - Please note the 11 am starting time.

Our special guest this month is Peyton Towler, the Regional APAC Manager from TechSmith.

TechSmith is well known for its Camtasia and SnagIt programs for Windows and Mac.

Camtasia allows you to record on-screen Audio and Video and is something I've been using to record Zoom and other Video conferencing meetings that I otherwise don't have access to record, because the meeting holder hasn't made recording available.

Camtasia can also be used to record tutorial videos with step-by-step instructions, YouTube videos and much much more. It also comes with a powerful built-in video editing program.

It's an excellent program, and while it isn't cheap, it's brilliant at what it does and how it does it, and it's definitely worth your time to come and learn about this great software.

Because Peyton is based in the US and is in Michigan, it will be 9 pm for her on Monday night when it is 11 am for us. We'll start at 11 am and will get Peyton on at 11.05 am so that she can get right to giving us a presentation.

If Peyton gives us a 30-minute presentation, we should be finished by no later than noon, if we get two x 30-minute presentations, we'll be finished by no later than 12.30 pm.

Here is the invite:

Sydney PCUserGroup is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 843 7361 4194
Password: 555178

Otherwise, Peyton would have to be up at 3 am to be at our usual 6 pm timeslot, so for this month, if we could all please connect just before 11 am, that would be hugely appreciated.

Peyton's presentation will be approximately thirty minutes, and if she agrees, we may get a second presentation on Snagit. I'm yet to have this second presentation confirmed, but if it does go ahead, we'll have a short 5-minute break.

Tuesday will also be the day for Apple's Worldwide Developer Conference keynote, so we'll confirm some of the most interesting details just before Peyton's presentation. We should learn more about iOS and iPad OS 14, whether Macs will be powered by an ARM processor instead of an Intel processor in the future and plenty more.

With any luck, Peyton will have a prize for us, but this isn't confirmed. More on this over the weekend.

Meeting invite details once more:

Sydney PCUserGroup is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 843 7361 4194
Password: 555178


— Alex

Meeting Next Week:

Penrith Group - Saturday, 4 Jul - 2:00 pm - 5:00 pm

We have cancelled this meeting until further notice.

Current & Upcoming Meetings:

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 ]

45 2020/07/04 — 14:00-17:00 — 04 Jul, Saturday — Penrith Group


“ASCCA News to Use Peruse and Amuse — JUNE 2020”:

Greetings to all,

Here is another ASCCA News issue. See the file: "ASCCA News to Use Peruse and Amuse - Vol 22 05a.pdf" attached.

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:

“Welcome to Cisco Webex Meetings!”:

Referred by Jeff Garland: E-mail from Cisco Webex.

Thanks for making us a part of your day.

We're here to help you stay connected — no matter where you work — with video conferencing that's simple, reliable and secure.

A better meetings experience starts right now —

1First, sign in to your account to start or schedule a meeting.

This is your product dashboard and is where you start, join and schedule meetings.

Sign in.

2Learn the basics with our 'How-To' tutorials.

How To Schedule a Meeting

How To Join a Meeting

3Resources and Help

Live online training classes to help you get acquainted.

Attend classes.

Product help articles and videos.

Visit the Help Center.

Questions? Ask the Webex User Community.

Get answers.

Enjoy the Cisco Webex Meetings!

We're here to help.

Contact us anytime with questions.

Your Webex Team

Go premium, get more.

Need more than 50 minutes for your meeting?

Upgrade today with plans starting as low as A$18.95 per host/month.

Upgrade and get more.

— Cisco Webex

“CCleaner Introduces 'Health Check'”:

Having been a satisfied "CCleaner" user for many years without updating the program, I decided to try out their latest version that includes "Health Check", released in May 2020. I'm happy to report it worked well for me and it's still free. Initially, you choose your preferences and then you're good to go.

One notable improvement I found was the restricting of uninvited cookies clogging my computer. Instead of hundreds previously, my last check showed just three from Bing; perhaps they're mean because I use Google Search.

Go here to Read CCleaner's latest press release and download CCleaner Free.

Did you know — CCleaner had over 2 billion downloads worldwide by 2016?

STOP PRESS — Browser News

Avast, the parent company of CCleaner, now offers two very similar security browsers: Avast Security Browser and CCleaner Browser.

Avast Security Browser includes — Adblocker, Anti-tracking and fingerprinting, Extension Guard, Anti-phishing, Avast Passwords, Stealth Mode, Privacy Cleaner, Avast SecureLine VPN, Bank mode, Flash blocker, Video downloading and HTTPS encryption.

CCleaner Browser supplies — Adblocker, Anti-tracking and fingerprinting, Extension Guard, Anti-phishing, Password Manager, Stealth Mode, Privacy Cleaner, CCleaner and Webcam Guard.

I have given both browsers a quick run and am already quite impressed.

— John Lucke June 2020

“Zoom Changes Its Mind, Gives Free Users End-To-End Encryption”:

See the Reviewgeek article by ANDREW HEINZMAN | @andrew_andrew__ | 17 JUNE 2020, 1:41 pm EDT.

End-to-end encryption ensures that strangers, businesses, and governments can't drop into your chats or video calls. It's essential for online privacy, so all websites should use it, right? Well, after initially claiming that only premium users deserve their privacy, Zoom announced that free users would also receive end-to-end encryption.

Zoom's decision to put end-to-end encryption behind a paywall spread across the internet quicker than a wildfire. Not because everyone is obsessed with encryption, but because the CEO of Zoom told Bloomberg journalist Nico Grant that:

Free users for sure we don't want to give that because we also want to work together with FBI, with local law enforcement in case some people use Zoom for a bad purpose.

The quote is word-salad, but you get the point. Zoom chose to make encryption a premium feature because they want to hand free users' information to law enforcement. Now that Zoom is backtracking, the service's free users will have the privacy that they deserve, and actual criminals won't have access to private conversations.

Of course, Zoom doesn't have the best track-record for privacy. The video chatting tool is banned by some schools, businesses, and even the U.S. Senate because it leaves people vulnerable to snoops and hackers. Maybe that'll change in July, when Zoom tests its end-to-end encryption tool, along with some other security improvements.

Read more »

“Forget Zoom: Google Meet just got a killer upgrade it can't match”:

See the Tom's-Guide article by Roland Moore-Colyer 11 June 2020.

Google Meet is getting intelligent noise cancellation to block annoying video call sounds.

Background noise is one of the most irritating things in video calls, and while participants can mute their microphones, it's a little tricky to do so when they may expect to speak a lot. But Google has plans to solve this problem.

The search giant has announced a smart noise cancellation feature for the Google Meet video conferencing service. The new feature uses artificial intelligence tech to smartly filter out background noise from someone's actual speech, which could make some video calls a lot less frustrating.

By training an AI model with recordings of Google's internal meetings, the Meet noise cancellation feature has learned how to detect what is background noise and what is legitimate audio from a meeting's participant. The AI program, having learned the difference, the AI tech can now filter out distracting noise and help make a person's audio sound clearer, at least going by Google's demonstration video.

However, the smart noise cancellation is a "denoiser" rather than a means to cancel out background noise altogether. If someone not in a Meet meeting but within range of a participant's microphone starts talking, there's a good chance the AI tech won't filter it out, as it could consider such background noise to be legitimate speech.

But Google is working on improving the smart feature to tweak the machine learning algorithm behind it to make it more effective. However, that doesn't mean Google will be going through all your video calls; the data will be encrypted and only used in the denoiser process rather than be accessible by other Google services and tech.

The noise cancellation feature has already started rolling out to Meet for G Suite Enterprise customers. Still, it should also make its way to the users of the free Google Meet service, including those who use the web, Android or iOS versions. Once it's rolled out, the noise cancellation will be the default, but you can also access it in the Meet audio settings where you can toggle the feature on or off.

With noise cancellation, Meet can once again snap at the heels of Zoom, which has enjoyed surging growth amidst the coronavirus lockdown. Zoom has noise cancellation to filter out loud keyboard taps and other small background noises, but it doesn't appear as advanced as Google's AI-powered tech. So that could help give Meet the edge when it comes to choosing the best Zoom alternatives.

Read more »

“Windows 10 June 2020 breaks printing even to PDFs”:

Referred by Jeff Garland: See the SlashGear article by "Ewdison Then" | 14 Jun 2020, 10:07 pm CDT.

The big May 2020 update for Windows 10 seemed to be relatively uneventful, aside from a few issues Microsoft was at least upfront about explaining. Lo and behold a month later, a cumulative update undoes that almost spotless record. Microsoft's support forums are now filled with complaints from users suddenly unable to print on any brand of printer. Curiously enough, it even affects printers that are "printing" a document into a PDF file.

The culprit is update number KB4557957 that Microsoft just rolled out last week. A seemingly harmless update that fixes issues, it brought along a bug that could put some offices at a standstill. Despite living in a digital world, many organizations and workflows still rely on good old paper and printed documents.

Unfortunately, Windows 10 users who already installed the update find that they are no longer able to do so. Rather than affecting only a specific brand or driver, reports are pouring in noting almost all kinds of printers being affected. Microsoft even notes that software-based printing to PDF will also fail.

Microsoft doesn't go into much detail other than what users have already been reporting. The Windows 10 print spooler may error out or close, causing nothing to print. It might even take down the app that's trying to print, which could aggravate users who haven't saved what they were composing.

Unfortunately, Microsoft is still on the "investigating" stage and has no official fix yet. Unofficially, users can download and install a different kind of driver called PCL6 for their printer to get it working again as simply reinstalling the stock driver won't do. Users can also try uninstalled the KB4557957 update if they're up to it, but that also removes whatever bug and security corrections it installed.

Read more »

“New Ransomware: Pay Up Or Files Go Public”:

See the Infopackets article by John Lister on 16 June 2020 at 10:06 pm EDT.

A new form of ransomware named after a Marvel supervillain has some particularly evil features. The Thanos malware uses an approach more reminiscent of "physical world" blackmail.

Despite the name, the malware thankfully doesn't imitate the character, Thanos, by — spoiler alert — deleting half the files in the entire universe.

That said, it's still quite scary thanks to a couple of features beyond the usual tactic of encrypting files and demanding a ransom. Instead, the ransomware also seeks to spread across an entire local network and encrypt all the computers it can reach.

This ransomware is especially bad news for any business or organization that is currently relying on remote desktop connections to access data at an office due to the COVID-19 pandemic, for example. Such machines are incredibly at risk of ransomware sneaking onto the network, particularly if the remote desktop protocol becomes exploitable. In this case, ransomware can sneak onto a system despite security updates, firewall, or antivirus installed.

Personal Data Shared Online

That said, the Thanos ransomware has a tactic aimed at individuals. Before encrypting files, Thanos copies anything in a standard document format such as Microsoft Word and Excel files and Adobe PDF documents and holds on to these copies remotely.

The victim then gets a ransom demand with the threat that not only will their copies of the files remain locked, but the stolen versions will be published online unless they pay a ransom. The demand says the files will appear on sites dedicated to data leaks, meaning there's a strong likelihood that professional scammers will try to exploit any personal data in the documents.

Security Software Fooled

To make things worse, Thanos uses a new technique called RIPlace that aims to disguise the manipulation of files to avoid detection by security software that looks explicitly for ransomware.

That's a big worry because when RIPlace first became public knowledge, some security software firms said they didn't need to update their tools as it was a purely theoretical threat. (Source: bleepingcomputer.com)

That is no longer the case; however, as it appears, Thanos has a good chance of spreading. The ransomware criminals are offering hefty revenue shares of any ransom payments to Digital criminals in return for helping get it on to more machines.

They also get access to a tool that can customize Thanos to as many as 43 different versions, making it much harder to detect. (Source: itwire.com)

Read more »

Fun Facts:

“A finite power tower”:

Can you solve for ζ in this equation: ζζζ2017 = 2017.

Hint: First solve for ξ in the equation: ξ2017 = 2017. [ Can this, too, be the value of ζ? ]

If stuck, see the YouTube video by BlackPenRedPen.

— Ed.

Bob Backstrom
~ Newsletter Editor ~

Information for Members and Visitors:

Link to — Sydney PC & Technology User Group
All Meetings, unless explicitly stated above, are held on the
1st Floor, Sydney Mechanics' School of Arts, 280 Pitt Street, Sydney.
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