2021 Newsletter: 12/121 — PreviousNext — (Attach.)

Sydney Harbour

Hello and Welcome,

Survey Response to 1-2-21

The main response to our Survey shows that most Members would like to wait until April after the vaccine is available:

The main Survey response

For the full Survey responses, including all SIGS, please download the 433k docx file.

— Steve South

Are you an old Exidy Sorcerer user?

From: Michael Borthwick, Swinburne University:

I am undertaking a Masters thesis at Swinburne University that explores Exidy Sorcerer microcomputer user groups in Australia. I have taken oral history testimonials from a number of former members of the Sydney Sorcerer User Group. They have told me that as their group wound down, it was absorbed into the Sydney PC Users Group.

I am seeking information about any materials which might have been transferred into your archives such as meeting minutes, newsletters or other details. Bank records from the 80s might give an indication of when this merger took place as I understand that the SUG may have had some surplus funds.

Perhaps you have an archivist or could put an item in your newsletter in case you still have members who once used the Sorcerer and might have memories of their activities in that club. Of particular interest is the 'live-in' weekends that they held.

— Michael Borthwick

Read all about the Exidy Sorcerer in the Wikipedia article. They seemed to be quite expensive for the time, 1978 to 1980. The introductory price was US$895 (equivalent to $3,508 in 2019).

If anyone has any interesting details, please send an e-mail to Michael Borthwick in Melbourne.

Some glimpses from a 1979 edition of ETI Magazine:

Showing Dick Smith presenting an Exidy Sorcerer computer

Some Sydney computer club listings from 1979

I'm trying to erase the blurred paragraphs in the 1st photo using PhotoPad:

Showing Eraser Tool crashing

"The eraser tool will not work on layers larger than 1141296816 x 0."

That's One Billion, 141 Million, 296 Thousand and 816 Bytes (?) !! times ZERO !!

Welcome to PhotoPad. Scroll down for the FREE version.

— Ed.

Meeting This Week

Programming - Tuesday, 9 Feb - 5:30 pm (6:00 pm meeting start) - 8:00 pm

Hi Team,

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

See the Progsig Meeting Reports:


The next meeting is on Tuesday 9th February 2021, at 6 pm.


— Steve OBrien

Meeting Next Week

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

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

— Steve South

Current & Upcoming Virtual Meetings

 9 2021/02/09 — 17:30-20:30 — 09 Feb, Tue — Programming, via Jitsi
13 2021/02/20 — 13:30-16:30 — 20 Feb, Sat — Web Design, via Zoom
14 2021/02/23 — 17:30-20:30 — 23 Feb, Tue — MAIN Meeting, via Zoom
15 2021/02/26 — 09:30-12:30 — 26 Feb, Fri — Digital Photography, via Zoom


Tech News:

Windows 10 update just killed this useful feature.

See the Tom's Guide article by Tom Pritchard 29 January 2021.

But it's not permanent.

It feels like barely a day goes by without news of a Windows 10 update doing something we'd really rather it didn't. Usually, that involves some detrimental bug or crash, but the latest example actually removes a useful feature.

Microsoft has confirmed the latest Windows 10 feature pack has disabled the screen snip feature, which let users copy and paste screen captures directly into a File Explorer folder. So now you have to save them instead manually.

The good news is that this isn't permanent. On a blog post, Microsoft explained that the feature was pulled after Windows Insiders discovered an issue with the program. Microsoft hasn't explained what the problem was, but says it hopes to 're-enable this capability in a future update after we address this issue'.

For the time being, most users won't be affected by this change, since this update is only rolling out to early-access members. So by the time it reaches members of the general public, Microsoft could easily have found and solved the issue.

Read More »

Twitter Truth Seekers to Label 'Misleading' Posts

See the Infopackets article by John Lister on January 28, 2021, at 03:01 pm EST.

Twitter is asking volunteers to add notes explaining why posts are misleading. It calls it a "community-driven approach to help address misleading information on Twitter".

The company believes that using volunteers will make it easier to address quickly-spreading misinformation rather than rely on paid staff.

It says the project, dubbed Birdwatch, won't involve labelling posts as "true" or "false". It also won't involve hiding or removing any posts as already happens after staff review reports of users breaching the site's guidelines.

Volunteers Will Reach Consensus.

Birdwatch will initially exist as a separate site for testing purposes. Volunteers in the pilot program will add notes to Twitter posts to give context and explain how they may be misleading. There will also be a system for other participants to rate how helpful the notes are. (Source: theguardian.com)

According to Twitter, the pilot aims to develop algorithms that can quickly identify which notes are most useful and should be published beside the relevant posts. These explanations will only happen when "there is consensus from a broad and diverse set of contributors". (Source: twitter.com)

One risk could be that the type of people who agree to spend their free time writing such notes might not represent a wide range of viewpoints and political leanings. Data files containing all submitted notes (whether "published" or not) will be available to download.

Original Posts Won't Be Downplayed.

Twitter says that even where the Birdwatch notes appear, the system won't affect the prominence it gives to the original posts when deciding what to show users who have their account to show "Top Tweets," rather than everything in chronological order. It hasn't said whether users would be able to opt-out of seeing the notes.

Giving more power to users may be a way for Twitter to sidestep criticism about how its staff decide what content should and shouldn't be removed or highlighted as misleading. The company's recent decision to permanently suspend Donald Trump's account prompted debate not just about the merits of that decision but the societal impact of a private company exercising its right to decide who can and can't publish content on its site.

Read More »

Fun Facts:

Bitdefender: Beware of False Positives on Some Files.

Try the free antivirus software from Bitdefender.

From their website:

Lightning-fast free antivirus

Bitdefender Antivirus Free Edition is blazing fast, free to use, and packs essential protection features every Windows computer needs.

  • Downloads and installs in seconds, and runs at max speed without slowing down your PC
  • Good for gaming, image and video editing, and resource-intensive applications
  • Powerful antivirus protection packed into a light solution

I switched over from AVG recently and let it do a complete System scan.

The result? Eight files marked "suspect".

Six of these "files" were folders from within Thunderbird which I'd created several years ago to hold archived e-mails. So, how can "folders" be "files"?

The other two were copies of each other in different directories. When I tried to view one of the files, Bitdefender told me "It has been deleted". Oh, GREAT!

I tracked down this 2012 file in a "Syncback" archive on a Linux machine, and it turns out to be an experiment of mine in obfuscating Html files. It looks like scrambled text plus some Javascript:

This shows an obfuscated Html file.

GREAT program, Bitdefender.

— Ed.

Meeting Location & Disclaimer

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
Are you 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.