2020 Newsletter: 44/54 — PreviousNext — (Attach.)

Sydney Harbour
WEEKLY NEWSLETTER 24 - 29 AUGUST 2020

Hello and Welcome,

Committee News:

Because of the uncertainty of our members wishing to attend face-to-face meetings, I suggest that we advise our members that face-to-face meetings for September have been cancelled.

— Ron Ferguson,
President.

COVID-19 News:

Received from Alex Zaharov-Reutt Monday, 17 August 2020.

From a news . com . au article, written by Ally Foster 17 August 2020, 9:35 pm.

City of Sydney declared COVID-19 hotspot

NSW Health has declared the City of Sydney a COVID-19 hotspot as cases continue to grow in the area's east.

The LGA (Local Government Area) covers from Circular Quay to East Lakes and includes more than 240,000 residents.

Anyone who lives in the City of Sydney or has visited there in the past two weeks has been urged to get tested, even if they only have mild symptoms such as a runny nose or scratchy throat.

The announcement follows a COVID-19 outbreak in the inner-city suburb of Potts Point, with 37 cases linked to the Thai Rock Restaurant in the area.

A school in Surry Hills was also forced to close after one of the students contracted coronavirus.

The student attended Sydney Girls High School on August 6, 7, 10 and 11 while infectious.

Contact tracing is underway, with the school closed for deep cleaning until Tuesday.

— Alex Zaharov-Reutt and Ally Foster

Meeting This Week:

Main Meeting - Tuesday, 25 Aug - 10:30 am (11:00 am meeting start) - noon

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

AUGUST MAIN MEETING

On Tuesday 25, our special guest is Acronis, who will be showcasing Acronis True Image 2021, which includes incredible backup and restoration capabilities, but also anti-virus, anti-malware and anti-ransomware. Other impressive features include the ability to protect your Zoom and other video-conferencing meetings from being hacked.

Acronis are based in Singapore, so I'm trying to find out what hours the best time for us to have a meeting, be it at the 11 am time slot we've had over the last couple of weeks through to the 6 pm time slot.

There will be two copies of Acronis to be won alongside two copies of Camtasia from TechSmith, so full details of the time slot and meeting invite details to come!

Cheers,

— Alex

Meeting Next Week:

Penrith Group - Saturday, 5 Sep - 2:00 pm - 5:00 pm

We have cancelled this meeting until further notice.

Current & Upcoming Meetings:
(Face-to-Face Meetings for August and September Cancelled)

53 2020/08/01 — 14:00-17:00 — 01 Aug, Saturday — Penrith Group
54 2020/08/11 — 17:30-20:30 — 11 Aug, Tuesday — Programming SIG, L1 Woolley + Lawson Rooms
55 2020/08/14 — 09:30-12:30 — 14 Aug, Friday — Friday Forum, LG Windeyer (+ ?) Rooms
56 2020/08/14 — 12:30-15:30 — 14 Aug, Friday — Communications, LG Windeyer (+ ?) Rooms
57 2020/08/15 — 13:30-16:30 — 15 Aug, Saturday — Web Design, L1 Woolley + Lawson Rooms
58 2020/08/18 — 09:30-12:30 — 18 Aug, Tuesday — Tuesday Forum, L1 Woolley + Lawson Rooms
59 2020/08/25 — 17:30-20:30 — 25 Aug, Tuesday — Main Meeting, L1 Carmichael + Dowling Rooms
60 2020/08/28 — 09:30-12:30 — 28 Aug, Friday — Digital Photography, L1 Woolley + Lawson Rooms [ Discontinued ]

61 2020/09/05 — 14:00-17:00 — 05 Sep, Saturday — Penrith Group

ASCCA News:

“The ASCCA News, to use, peruse, amuse and enthuse”:

Greetings all,

Here is the flyer for four (Microsoft Teams) Scam Awareness webinars held by ASCCA between Aug 18 and 21 2020.

Unfortunately, the notice arrived too late to be included in this issue of the ASCCA NEWS, to use, peruse, amuse and enthuse.

This issue of the News contains the following articles:

  • Bank online with confidence
  • ASCCA notice board
  • What you need to know about Skype for Web
  • My goodness, ASCCA's Training Officer, Jean Martin's Online training is proving to be very popular — August classes are booked out. Still, details of September sessions will be posted online during the last week in August, [read the NEWS to find the link!]
  • Technology support for Seniors, an article from Computer Pals for Seniors Northern Beaches Inc.
  • Get Zoom for 50% off!

It's time for a cuppa.

Take care, stay safe and keep connected,

Nan

Nan Bosler, AM
President

Editor: Jenny Willcox

Australian Seniors Computer Clubs Association
Level LG, 280 Pitt St SYDNEY 2000
www.ascca.org.au
ascca@ascca.org.au
(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:

“Open letter to Australians”:

See Google's Open letter to Australians 17 August 2020.

We need to let you know about new Government regulation that will hurt how Australians use Google Search and YouTube.

A proposed law, the News Media Bargaining Code, would force us to provide you with a dramatically worse Google Search and YouTube, could lead to your data being handed over to big news businesses, and would put the free services you use at risk in Australia.

The way Aussies search every day on Google is at risk from new regulation

You've always relied on Google Search and YouTube to show you what's most relevant and helpful to you. We could no longer guarantee that under this law. The law would force us to give an unfair advantage to one group of businesses — news media businesses — over everyone else who has a website, YouTube channel or small business. News media businesses alone would be given information that would help them artificially inflate their ranking over everyone else, even when someone else provides a better result. We've always treated all website owners fairly when it comes to information we share about ranking. The proposed changes are not fair, and they mean that Google Search results and YouTube will be worse for you.

Your Search data may be at risk

You trust us with your data, and our job is to keep it safe. Under this law, Google has to tell news media businesses "how they can gain access" to data about your use of our products. There's no way of knowing if any data handed over would be protected, or how it might be used by news media businesses.

Hurting the free services you use

We deeply believe in the importance of news to society. We partner closely with Australian news media businesses — we already pay them millions of dollars and send them billions of free clicks every year. We've offered to pay more to license content. But rather than encouraging these types of partnerships, the law is set up to give big media companies special treatment and to encourage them to make enormous and unreasonable demands that would put our free services at risk.

This law wouldn't just impact the way Google and YouTube work with news media businesses — it would impact all of our Australian users, so we wanted to let you know. We're going to do everything we possibly can to get this proposal changed so we can protect how Search and YouTube work for you in Australia and continue to build constructive partnerships with news media businesses — not choose one over the other.

You'll hear more from us in the coming days — stay tuned.

Thank you,

Mel Silva, Managing Director, on behalf of Google Australia

“Google's 'open letter' is trying to scare Australians.
The company simply doesn't want to pay for news”:

See The Conversation article by Belinda Barnet | Senior Lecturer in Media and Communications, Swinburne University of Technology | 18 August 2020 2.21 pm AEST.

If you went to use Google yesterday, you might have been met with a pop-up, warning that the tech giant's functionality was "at-risk" from new Australian government regulation.

Google Australia's managing director, Mel Silva, wrote an open letter in response to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) News Media Bargaining Code. This legislation would require Google (and Facebook) to negotiate "fair payment" for Australian news content published on their services.

The letter, pinned to the Google homepage, claims the code would force Google "to provide you with a dramatically worse Google Search and YouTube". The ACCC has already labelled [ Paywall — Ed. ] several of the letter's statements as "misinformation".

It seems Google isn't keen to set a global precedent by paying Australian news outlets for their content. Google claims the ACCC's proposed code is disastrous, for a variety of reasons.

Its letter is part of a campaign designed to scare Australian web users. Don't fall for it.

Read more »

“New Download Site”:

Referred by John Symonds: Go to the LO4D website.

It lists many free Windows utility type programs. They also thoroughly check the applications for malware and certify that their offerings are clean.

Here is a typical list:

Custom Resolution Utility 1.4.1 — Overrides AMD and NVIDIA settings and create custom resolutions

Odin3 3.13.1 — Allows you to update your Android firmware without fuss

BlueStacks 4.220.0.1109 — Run Android APK apps and games on a Windows desktop with full access to the Google Play store and other Google and online…

DirectX 11 — DirectX runtime for Vista and higher

SmadAV 2020 13.7 — A secondary antivirus application from overseas

AnyDesk 6.0.7 — An extensive free remote desktop tool with clipboard support supporting file transfers and remote screenshots

Adobe Reader XI 11.0.23 — The original PDF reader for Windows

Why LO4D.com?

No installers — Free software is NOT wrapped with malware or ad-based installers.

Tested and reviewed — Software here is tested with the top antivirus applications and trusted online malware trackers.

Unaffiliated — LO4D.com is not owned, operated, nor affiliated with any malware scheme or ad-based installer programs.

Nothing sneaky — We have no interest in modifying your homepage, search engine settings or installing crap on your system.

No fake awards — Unlike many download sites, LO4D.com does not automatically award a "5-star" badge just for being listed.

Useful warnings — If we find any potential dangers, whether they are false positives or not, you should know. Most other download sites are not as diligent.

There is also a search box to select the software list. For example, entering "pdf" results in 352 matches, including editors, encryptors, decryptors and even password removers.

Well worth a look.

— John Symonds

“Spark waives excess data charges until COVID-19 alert level drops”:

See the iTWire article by Sam Varghese Monday, 17 August 2020 10:05.

New Zealand broadband provider Spark will waive excess data charges for customers on data-capped fixed and wireless broadband who are at risk of losing access, the company says.

In a statement on Friday, Spark said the exemption would apply to consumer and small and medium-sized business customers and would begin from Monday.

The exemption will apply until the lockdown in Auckland, put in place after the second wave of coronavirus infections hit New Zealand, is moved down from Alert Level 3.

Spark chief executive Jolie Hodson said: "We know our customers need to stay connected during the lockdown and we will lean in and do our part to make that happen as Auckland moves into an additional 12 days at Alert Level 3."

The company reminded customers that it would monitor network traffic to ensure an optimal experience for all, but there could be congestion at peak periods.

"We believe the combination of the government's support packages, the removal of broadband data overage charges, our wide range of broadband plans that cater to different budgets, and our new hardship policy, will provide our customers with as much support as possible during these challenging times," Hodson added.

Read more »


Fun Facts:

“5 fun facts about online Solitaire”:

See the article From The Grapevine by Anna Norris | Tuesday, May 19, 2015.

The computer game is celebrating its 25th anniversary with a massive tournament. Here's what you might not know about the game of chance.


End of Solitaire -- cascading cards

You probably had one of two central relationships with computer Solitaire. Either it was the only game you were allowed to play on your Windows 95, so you're left in a state of ambivalent nostalgia, or you were utterly addicted — and likely still are.

In an announcement that's making even us Millennials feel old, Microsoft has clued us all in that this procrastination-enabling game is turning 25 this year. [ That is 30 this year (2020) — Ed. ] The tech giant is marking the occasion with a global tournament, in which Solitaire gurus from Italy to Israel to Idaho can take part.

So, how does a Solitaire tournament work, exactly? Isn't the game mostly up to chance? It turns out, there are some very intriguing facts about this one-person game — and who knows, maybe one or two of them could even help you win.

1. Solitaire was developed in 1989 by … an intern?

Wes Cherry adapted the popular card game for Microsoft during his internship with the company. The game was included in Windows 3.0, which made its debut in 1990. It's safe to say that any '90s kid knows the familiar sight of the rounded, glass screen of the early Windows PCs, accompanied by the call of the glowing green game that could occupy many hours.

Microsoft Solitaire was a way to get people relaxed and excited about using the computer at home — and look where we are now! (Bonus fact: Solitaire has been pre-installed on every Windows operating system since Windows 3.0 — except Windows 8!)

2. There are five main variations of Solitaire: Klondike, FreeCell, Spider, TriPeaks and Pyramid.

And that's not all! There are many variations of these Solitaire games. All are customizable based on how many decks and suits you use. How many cards are dealt from the top left deck and how the cards are arranged. In short? You can get bored with regular old Solitaire, but you will never run out of ways to make it more interesting.

3. The highest score you can earn in the standard version of Microsoft Solitaire is 24,113.

You get 10 points for each card added to an aces pile (aka "home stack") and five points for each time you move a card from the deck to a column (correctly). There is a time bonus for games that last longer than 30 seconds (faster ones are not considered for scoring) based on the formula: 700,000 divided by the total time (in seconds) it took you to finish.


Cartoon of cascading cards chasing the Solitaire winner

4. Winning is more likely than you think.

Many tech-savvy people have made it their mission to analyze the game of Solitaire. According to Usman Latif of TechUser.net, 1 in 400 Solitaire games is unsolvable. Three factors play into a game that you can't win, according to Latif:

  • 1. No aces are in the fifteen playable cards.
  • 2. None of the seven playable cards in the row-stacks can be moved to a different row-stack.
  • 3. None of the eight playable cards in the deck can be moved to any of the seven row-stacks.

So, as it turns out, most games are lost because of user error.

5. It's not all luck — you really can increase your chance of winning.

By keeping the runs (that vertical line of visible cards) evenly distributed instead of focusing on completing one at a time, it enables you to make more moves elsewhere and can improve time dramatically. Focus on unlocking the face-down cards so you know what you're working with, instead of moving cards just because you can.

Finally, don't be too eager with the stockpile. Only play a card from that pile if there are no other options available within the other stacks. Playing all three cards in the dealt pile is also not the best idea, as you want to be able to see as many cards as possible in that deck to know what options you have there and playing all three will keep them all in the same order. You can find more helpful tips on this handy list from MSN Games.

Read more »


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.
Sydney PC & Technology User Group's FREE Newsletter — SubscribeUnsubscribe
Go to Sydney PC & Technology User Group's — Events Calendar
Changing your e-mail address? Please e-mail your new address to — newsletter.sydneypc@gmail.com
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.