2020 Newsletter: 51/54 — PreviousNext — (Attach.)

Sydney Harbour

Hello and Welcome,

Meetings This Week:

Programming - Tuesday, 8 Sep - 5:30 pm (6:00 pm meeting start) - 8:00 pm

Hi Team,

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

See the Progsig Meeting Reports:



— Steve OBrien

Friday Forum - Friday, 11 Sep - 9:30 am (10:00 am meeting start) - noon

We have cancelled this meeting until further notice.

Communications - Friday, 11 Sep - 1:00 pm - 3:00 pm

We have cancelled this meeting until further notice.

Meetings Next Week:

Tuesday Forum - Tuesday, 15 Sep - 9:30 am (10:00 am meeting start) - noon

We have cancelled this meeting until further notice.

Web Design - Saturday, 19 Sep - 1:30 pm (2:00 pm meeting start) - 4:00 pm

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

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

61 2020/09/05 — 14:00-17:00 — 05 Sep, Saturday — Penrith Group
62 2020/09/08 — 17:30-20:30 — 08 Sep, Tuesday — Programming SIG, L1 Woolley + Lawson Rooms
63 2020/09/11 — 09:30-12:30 — 11 Sep, Friday — Friday Forum, L1 Woolley + Lawson Rooms
64 2020/09/11 — 12:30-15:30 — 11 Sep, Friday — Communications, L1 Woolley + Lawson Rooms
65 2020/09/15 — 09:30-12:30 — 15 Sep, Tuesday — Tuesday Forum, L1 Woolley + Lawson Rooms
66 2020/09/19 — 13:30-16:30 — 19 Sep, Saturday — Web Design, L3 Norman Selfe + (?) Rooms
67 2020/09/22 — 17:30-20:30 — 22 Sep, Tuesday — Main Meeting, L1 Carmichael + Dowling Rooms
68 2020/09/25 — 09:30-12:30 — 25 Sep, Friday — Digital Photography, L1 Woolley + Lawson Rooms [ Discontinued ]


“SENIORS CARD Extra! Message from Geoff Lee MP”

Welcome to the September edition of EXTRA!

Spring has arrived yet COVID-19 is still circulating in our community. Understanding the risks can help protect yourself and those around you, especially if you have a chronic medical condition or are aged 70 or older.

Remember, it's best to take a cautious approach to where you go and who you see.

We all need to keep taking extra steps to keep our family and friends safe from COVID-19. Please meet in smaller groups, gather outside, and get tested even if you only have mild symptoms. More tips on staying safe are included in the [ SENIORS CARD — Ed. ] newsletter below.

Finally, there's no time like the present to dig out your stationery and get back to old-school letter writing. Australia Post has started the Senior Pen Pal Club to encourage seniors to make new friends by sharing their stories and experiences. It's open to organisations and community groups at this stage, and those interested can find out more on the Australia Post website.

We wish you a wonderful and safe spring season.

Yours sincerely,

Geoff Lee MP
Acting Minister for Sport, Multiculturalism, Seniors and Veterans

“The September 2020 issue of ASCCA NEWS” :

Greetings all,

Please find the September 2020 ASCCA News online.

1 September ushers in Spring and it will be Wattle Day across Australia.

Alert, Alert! It is also the closing date for entries in the 2020 ASCCA Digital Photography Competition. If you, as the member of an ASCCA club, or anyone in your club wants to enter this competition they must enter immediately — closing date is Tuesday, 1 September! Full details are on our website. Please send entries to photocomp@pcug.org.au.

  • In this ASCCA Newsletter, we welcome two new clubs: Brisbane Seniors Online and Happy Tech from the William Langford Community Centre in WA.
  • Read a little about ACAP — Active Aging Consortium Asia Pacific.
  • Adult Learners' Week is the first week of September.
  • Meet two new ASCCA Directors, Dr Scott Hollier and Susan Jensen.
  • Get involved in Get Online Week 2020 — there's still time to apply for funding.
  • Read some of the exciting developments being made by SWADE in WA, NT & NSW.
  • Manly Computer Pals comments on 'rona!

I am sure you have already marked your diary so that the date is reserved for the ASCCA Online Conference — Living Your Best Online Life — which will be held on 10 November 2020!

Take care, stay safe and keep connected,


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:

“Restoring Microsoft News”:

Just recently (after some new monthly KB updates from Microsoft) I seem to have lost access to the Microsoft News on Windows 10. When you click on the app, all you got were the headings and a blank screen. If you click on "My News" it did offer a list including ABC News, Channel 7 News and SMH News among others. But choosing any other heading, you get "An error has occurred". Very helpful.

The only thing would be to chance a risky uninstall and reload from the Microsoft Store. After all, the app is free, so what could go wrong?

And yes, the uninstall worked after trying it three times (with no initial visible action).

Then for the re-installation. That wouldn't work either until I rebooted.

Now it works like a charm. I wonder why Microsoft didn't just update it if there were improvements and fixes since the October 26, 2012 release of the app?

— Ed.

“Twenty years with Debian on the desktop – and no regrets”:

See the iTWire article by Sam Varghese | Friday, 28 August 2020 10:48 am.

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

Two decades ago, I took on a task that had been about two years in the planning: changing operating systems from Windows to Linux.

It was in August 2000 that I finally took the plunge to use Linux without the back-up of a dual-boot system, reasoning that if I did not cut the strings at some point, it would never happen.

My choice of Linux distribution was Debian, something I have never regretted in the years since, as I have grown from a nervous novice to someone who can negotiate this operating system with something approaching confidence.

Before that, for about two years, I experimented with other Linux distributions, running first Red Hat and then Slackware, and trying to learn what I could to make the switch. I had to give up on both these distributions because they lacked a proper mechanism to update the whole system.

Debian had a sound package management system in place, but there was a massive amount to learn before I could take the plunge. I do all my work on my computer, and anything disruptive is a major issue. So I had to tread with care.

The local Linux groups were not overly helpful; dismissive messages like RTFM — read the fine manual — was a typical response I encountered. That made me even more determined to learn enough so I could do what I had intended to.

The main lesson that I have come away with is that it is always good to know what you are going to lose and what you have to gain in making such a switch. There are good points about Windows but, for me, the downsides were far too many. The steep learning curve with Linux was difficult, as was the fact that one would have to adjust to thinking in an entirely different way. But there are many positive points about Linux that far outweigh the negatives.

One of the downsides of Windows is the fact that one has to reinstall the whole system often. That is a rarity with Linux unless one has hardware failures. Since 2000, I had reinstalled when I switched machines (twice) and when a motherboard gave up the ghost.

Else, I have upgraded my system online from one version of Debian to the next with minimal difficulty. The first time it took 44 hours as I was on a 56k connection. At one point, there was a power fluctuation, and everything went down. But when I restarted the process, it just picked up where it had left off, and almost two days later I had a new version of Debian running.

Another central plus point of Linux is that I have not spent a cent on software over the 20 years of using Debian. There is plenty of software available to do everything one wishes to. Of course, there is a learning curve as with everything else. But it is well worth the effort.

Fixing issues on Linux is a logical process; once one has a problem and corrects it, the same procedure can be used the next time that issue surfaces. This is in sharp contrast to Windows where rebooting the system often seems to fix things, without one knowing how it was fixed. There is no voodoo associated with Linux.

Debian is a community Linux distribution that is developed by more than a thousand developers from all over the world. It is a technically sound distribution that caters to more architectures than any other. This is not to cast aspersions on other distributions; they have their good points too. But Debian has served me well over the last 20 years, and I intend to use it for the next 20 (if I am around).

Read more »

“Seven Windows 10 annoyances (and how to fix them)”:

Referred by Jeff Garland. See the ZDNet article by Ed Bott for The Ed Bott Report | 31 August 2020 — 12:29 GMT (22:29 AEST) | Topic: Productivity.

Technology is a miracle. Technology is a nightmare. Technology is a series of annoyances, minor irritations, things that make you grit your teeth.

It's easy to invest too much emotional energy into technology. But I understand that a small accumulation of irritations can collectively make you want to punch your fist through a wall.

My specialty, as readers of this site know only too well, is helping people find a way to be more productive with technology, primarily as delivered in Windows 10 PCs. My readers are not shy about telling me exactly what causes their patience to collapse in a crumpled heap when they're trying to get something done with a PC that's supposed to be an aid to productivity.

In that spirit, I went through my inbox recently and assembled this litany of absolutely annoying things you are likely to encounter when you use a Windows 10 PC. Some of them even have solutions.


Five years into the Windows 10 era, this is by far the most common complaint, which typically arrives in my inbox in one of two forms. My humble correspondent stepped away from the PC and discovered upon their return that it had rebooted to install an update, wiping out unsaved work in the process. Equally painful is watching the update progress screen creep along for what seems like hours (sometimes it is hours) without being able to get any work done.

In the early days/months/years of Windows 10, Microsoft was annoyingly aggressive with updates and the forced restarts that come along with them. It didn't help that feature updates came at unexpected times, with distinctly indeterminate time-to-update estimates.

The good news is that loud and sustained feedback from its customers has inspired Windows 10 engineers to adopt a kinder, gentler update regimen now. There are multiple warnings of upcoming reboots associated with the monthly quality updates, and feature updates are now optional, at least for a year and a half (or so).

The only way to prevent unpleasant update surprises is to take charge of the process. I have the details in my "FAQ: How to manage Windows 10 updates."


As I was starting to write this article, I opened Microsoft's Feedback Hub so I could see what problems people are reporting right now. At the very top of the Trending Topics list was a feedback item filed as a Suggestion: "STOP INSTALLING CRAPWARE."

I'm sure the author knew he was SHOUTING, but sometimes it just feels good to let off steam with a good scream. "I do not want and have not requested any games such as Farmville or Candy Crush," he continued, this time without shouting. "I have previously uninstalled them — only to have them reinstall as part of some update from Microsoft."

It truly is annoying, an argument I made back in 2018 in "Avoid Windows 10 crapware: How to get rid of Candy Crush and all the rest." When I rechecked recently, I discovered that not much has changed. Microsoft still includes Disney's Magic Kingdom app and the latest mutation in the Candy Crush and Farmville gene pools on my fresh Windows 10 Pro installation.

The surefire way to get around that annoyance, it turns out, is to upgrade to Microsoft's version of Business class: Windows 10 customers who pay 7 or 10 or 20 bucks a month for an Enterprise license or a business-class Microsoft 365 account are spared the Candy Crush/Farmville infestation. Those of us in the main Windows 10 cabin should prepare to uninstall crapware until further notice.

Ed. — Please read the whole story about these other annoyances:






Read more »

Fun Facts:

“Eating Brussels sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower may boost blood vessel health”:

See the Study Finds article by Brianna Sleezer | August 24, 2020.

JOONDALUP, Australia — Our parents may have been on to something when they told us to eat our vegetables. According to researchers at Edith Cowan University (ECU) in Australia, eating more cruciferous vegetables (such as broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, and cabbage) could be the key to better blood vessel health.

[ See the Wikipedia article describing these cruciferous vegetables, so-named from the shape of their flowers, whose four petals resemble a cross — Ed. ]

In the study, the researchers looked at data from 684 women in Western Australia who were recruited in 1998. Results show that women who eat more than 45 grams of cruciferous veggies each day — equal to about ¼ cup of steamed broccoli or ½ cup raw cabbage — are 46% less likely to have calcium build-up on their aorta.

Blood vessel disease is a condition that affects arteries and veins and can restrict blood flow throughout the body. The build-up of fatty calcium deposits on the aorta is a key marker of blood vessel disease. It's also the most significant contributor to heart attack and stroke.

"In our previous studies, we identified those with a higher intake of these vegetables had a reduced risk of having a clinical cardiovascular disease event, such as a heart attack or stroke, but we weren't sure why," said lead researcher Lauren Blekkenhorst in a media release. "Our findings from this new study provide insight into the potential mechanisms involved."

The connection between cruciferous veggies and blood vessels

Interestingly, the study also shows that calcium build-up on the aorta is not related to overall vegetable consumption or consumption of other types of non-cruciferous vegetables. Thus, it seems that there is something special about cruciferous vegetables in particular.

"One particular constituent found abundantly in cruciferous vegetables is vitamin K which may be involved in inhibiting the calcification process that occurs in our blood vessels," said Blekkenhorst.

"That's not to say the only vegetables we should be eating are broccoli, cabbage and Brussels sprouts. We should be eating a wide variety of vegetables every day for overall good health and wellbeing," she added.

The study is published in the British Journal of Nutrition.

Read more »

“The Speed Of A Computer Mouse Is Measured In What Unit?”

Traps, Mickeys, Tails or Pixelruns?

Unit of mouse speed -- Mickeys per second

Answer: Mickeys (per second)

In a light-hearted nod to the ubiquity of Disney's Mickey Mouse character, a "Mickey" has been a long-standing measurement of mouse movement in the computer industry. The term was introduced through Microsoft documentation for their universal mouse drivers back in the 1980s.

Traditionally, a Mickey is 1/200th of an inch; the term is often used in a modified form to refer to more specific measurements such as "pixels per Mickey". This measure indicates how far the cursor moves on the screen relative to the movement of the physical mouse, as well as "horizontal Mickey count" and "vertical Mickey count" to refer to horizontal and vertical directions.

— Ed.

Bob Backstrom
~ Newsletter Editor ~

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