2021 Newsletter: 24/121 — PreviousNext — (Attach.)

Sydney Harbour

Hello and Welcome,

Temporary Website Outage

"Our website was temporarily down as the domain name had expired. The committee renewed our hosting last year, but we were unaware the domain name was under a different account with an obsolete email address. So we didn't get the notice.

We had to prove who we are to the provider, and Anthony Robinson finally achieved that tonight (Friday). So, we are back up.

Our apologies for the inconvenience."

— Steve South,

Meeting This Week

Web Design - Saturday, 20 Mar - 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

Meetings Next Week

Main Meeting - Tuesday, 23 Mar - Time: TBA

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

— Alex Zaharov-Reutt

Digital Photography - Friday, 26 Mar - 9:30 am (10:00 am meeting start) - noon

We will be running this meeting using Zoom; details below:

The Sydney PC User Group is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.

Topic: Digital Photography

Time: Friday, Mar 26, 2021 10:00 am Canberra, Melbourne, Sydney.

Join the Zoom Meeting at:


Meeting ID: 870 0431 0706
Passcode: 908091

Meeting topics include:

  • How effective are Home-security cameras?

  • An introduction to Paint.Net and some fun with Layers.

  • Choose a photo of "your young self" and email it by Mar 24 to: johnlucke12@­gmail.com for reminiscing and comment.

  • Q & A Forum

  • Over to You for general discussion.

Hoping to see you there.

— John Lucke

Current & Upcoming Virtual Meetings

17 2021/03/09 — 17:30-20:30 — 09 Mar, Tue — Programming, via Jitsi
21 2021/03/20 — 13:30-16:30 — 20 Mar, Sat — Web Design, via Zoom
22 2021/03/23 — 17:30-20:30 — 23 Mar, Tue — MAIN Meeting, via Zoom
23 2021/03/26 — 09:30-12:30 — 26 Mar, Fri — Digital Photography, via Zoom


Tech News:

Did You Know Browser Extensions Are Looking at Your Bank Account?

See the How-To Geek article by CHRIS HOFFMAN | @chrisbhoffman | MAR 9, 2021, 6:40 am EST | 4 MIN READ.

Whenever you sign in to your bank account, your browser extensions watch. They can see your account balances, your transactions, and your online banking password. They see everything in your browser: passwords, credit card numbers, private messages, and the websites you visit.

Extensions Have Access to Everything in Your Web Browser

Have you ever paid attention to the message you see when installing a browser extension in Chrome, for example? For most browser extensions, you'll see a message stating that the add-on can "Read and change all your data on the websites you visit."

This power means that the browser extension has full access to all the web pages you visit. It can see which web pages you're browsing, read their contents, and watch everything you type. It could even modify the web pages — for example, by inserting extra advertisements. If the extension is malicious, it could gather all that private data of yours — from web browsing activity and the emails you type to your passwords and financial information — and send it to a remote server on the internet.

So, when you sign in to your online banking account, your browser extensions are right there with you. They can see your password as you log in and view everything you can see on your online banking account. They could even modify the online banking page before you view it.

Read more »

The Best Tricks Inside Microsoft's Edge Browser

Referred by Jeff Garland: See the PC Magazine article by Lance Whitney 6 Mar 2021, 3:49 am.

The new Chromium version of Edge offers several enhancements over its predecessor. These tips highlight the best-hidden features we've found in Microsoft's new browser.

The new Chromium-based version of Microsoft's Edge browser adds a few tricks, from dropping EdgeHTML in favour of Chromium, making it feel more like Google Chrome, to supporting Chrome extensions.

While we bet one of the first things you do on a new Windows PC is rush to the web and download Firefox, Chrome, or your other browser of choice, there are still reasons to consider Edge. After all, we found it performs well against the competition.

Unlike Edge's old edition, the new version can be downloaded for Windows 10, 8/8.1, 7, and even macOS. If you have Windows 10, the new flavour will automatically replace the older version. With version 88 released in January 2021, Edge includes several essential updates designed to protect your security and privacy. Here's a look at what you can do right now.

Update Edge

First, let's make sure you can access the newest features. Click the ellipsis icon in the browser's upper-right corner and go to Help and Feedback > About Microsoft Edge to download and install the latest updates.

Enhance and Protect Your Passwords

Edge version 88 and higher offers a password monitor to alert you if one of your passwords may have been compromised and a password generator to suggest strong passwords for new accounts. To use both features, make sure Sync is turned on. Click the ellipsis icon and go to Settings > Profiles > Sync, then click the Turn on Sync button if it's turned off.

To use the password monitor, enable the switch for Show alerts when passwords are found in an online leak. Edge will then alert you if any of your saved passwords were leaked in a data breach.

To use the password generator, head to Settings > Profiles and turn on the switch for Offer to save passwords. The switch for Suggest strong passwords should then turn on as well. The next time you're at the screen to create a new account for a website, click in the password field. Edge should suggest a secure and robust password. Click Refresh until you find a password you like, and then select it to add it to the field.

Change Your DNS Provider

Edge uses whatever DNS provider is set up by your ISP unless you change it. Some people like to use an alternative DNS provider such as Google, OpenDNS, or Cloudflare for greater security or privacy. You can point to a different DNS provider in Edge by clicking Settings > Privacy, Search, and Services.

Scroll down the page to the section for Security. Make sure the switch is turned on for Use secure DNS to specify how to look up the website's network address. Click Choose a service provider. Click in the text field for entering a custom provider and select a provider from the pop-up list.

Review and Delete Cookies

Edge now gives you more control to manage and delete cookies. Go to Settings > Cookies and site permissions > Manage and delete cookies and site data > See all cookies and site data. You can view each site that has created and stored cookies. Click the down arrow and then the trash can icon to delete the cookies for any site you don't want.

Save Web Content in Collections

Edge lets you create your own collections of web pages, text snippets, and images. This feature can help if you're conducting research or looking for specific information and want to gather all related content. You can start a new collection by navigating to Settings > Collection or clicking the Collections icon in the menu bar.

If you want to save a web page, first open it in the browser, then click the Add current page link to save it in the collection. Saving highlighted text and images can be done by dragging the selection to the Collections pane.

Click the Add Note icon to type a note or add a description for this collection. These collections can then be sent to Excel, Word, OneNote, or Pinterest by clicking the ellipsis icon and choosing a destination. You can also open all the content in the collection or copy it to the clipboard using this settings menu.

The next time you want to access one of your collections, go to the Collections pane and select the one you wish to view, or just click the Collections icon on the toolbar. You can create new collections, edit existing collections, delete individual items in a collection, and delete an entire collection.

Other features include: [ — Ed. ]

Add to Your Favourites

Use Edge Extensions

Built-In Coupons and Promo Codes

Turn a Website Into an App

Pin a Web Page to the Taskbar

Vertical Tabs

Sleeping Tabs

Mute a Tab

Reading View

Read PDFs and Books Full-Screen

Edge Reads to You

Edge Gets Darker

Change the Start Page

Change the Default Search Engine

Read More »

Scientists Read a 300-Year-Old Folded Letter without Opening It — Here's How

See the ReviewGeek article by ANDREW HEINZMAN | @andrew_andrew__ | MAR 7, 2021, 1:13 pm EST | 1 min read.

Historic Fragile Letters

The juicy contents of a sealed 300-year-old letter are now available for anyone to enjoy, thanks to a new algorithm that deconstructs x-rays to unfold documents virtually. Researchers at MIT developed the virtual letter-opening method to read unopened letters that are too fragile to open today due to wax seals and intense folds.

Hold on, did I say that this letter is juicy? It's actually a bit mundane. In the letter, dated July 31st, 1697, French lawyer Jacques Sennacques asks his cousin, Pierre Le Pers, to send over a death certificate for Daniel Le Pers's relative. Unfortunately, the letter never reached Pierre. It instead sat in a trunk nicknamed the Brienne Collection alongside 2,600 other letters, 600 of which remain unopened.

Nosy researchers can't open these unsealed letters, as they're all "letterlocked." Letterlocking, a process where you fold and seal a letter to the point that it can't be opened without getting torn, was a common trick for hundreds of years in Europe and other continents. It serves as a deterrent for snoops, which would damage it by opening a "locked" letter, leaving tampering evidence on the letter.

After 300 years in a dusty French box, the letters are too fragile to "unlock" without causing significant damage. And even in cases where researchers could successfully unfold a letter, doing so erases the "letterlock", which is a valuable piece of history in its own right.

Researchers can use this virtual "unlocking" method to reveal the contents of unopened letters, which are quite common given the prevalence of letters before the late-20th century. The technology could also come in handy for researchers studying other fragile documents, like old books and scrolls.

Read More »

Three Methods to Recover Your Windows 10 Product Key

Referred by Jeff Garland: See the 5m12s YouTube video by Brian on the Britec09 Channel on YouTube | 6 Mar 2021.

Brian shows you three methods of finding Product IDs and Keys in Windows 10.

The easiest way is via the free Belarc Advisor program.

It does search all through your system, so it takes several minutes before displaying all the Product IDs it can find, and all the computer's specs, including RAM sizes, Disk drive information and other details.

Watch More »

Fun Facts:

SUV on Mars?

The eagle-eyed among you will have scanned last week's Sway banner headline and, maybe, noticed something odd.

In creating the Newsletter, I innocently entered "Martian landscapes" in Sway and picked a rock-strewn landscape that looked very much as you would expect to find on Mars.

I should have noted the sky's deep blue; Mars has a much fainter colour due to the thin atmosphere.

But what should have alerted me to the error was the presence of AN SUV in the shot!

Is there an SUV on Mars?.

What Sway listed were "Martian landscapes or similar terrain on Earth".

The image is actually of a remote site in Chile.

See the European Southern Observatory's site for the proposed Extremely Large Telescope.

According to Wikipedia, the building was started in 2017. The expected opening date is 2025.

"What looks like a barren and inhospitable alien landscape in this 360-degree panorama is, in fact, the site for ESO's European Extremely Large Telescope, or E-ELT for short. When construction begins, the uninhabited mountaintop left of the centre will become a hive of activity as engineers, technicians and scientists work on building the world's biggest eye on the sky.

In many ways, Chile's Cerro Armazones may seem like an alien world. The environment is harsh, with low humidity and air pressure, a blazing sun during the day, but breath-taking skies at night. Cerro Armazones is in the Atacama Desert — one of the driest places on Earth. These conditions, combined with their remoteness, make the region such an excellent location for telescopes. Armazones is an isolated peak, 3046 metres above sea level. It is about 20 km away from Cerro Paranal, home of ESO's famous Very Large Telescope. Both summits enjoy crisp skies far away from sources of light pollution.

Among the ELT's many science goals is a particularly hot topic in contemporary astronomy: the quest for exoplanets. The E-ELT will search for Earth-like planets orbiting other stars and even directly image larger planets or probe atmospheres. The E-ELT's high-tech instruments will also study the formation of planets in protoplanetary discs around young stars. Detecting water and organic molecules will shed light on how planetary systems are produced and bring us one step closer to answering whether we are alone in the Universe."

Comparing the relative sizes of the Extremely Large Telescope, the Very Large Telescope and the Colosseum:

Comparing the ELT, VLT and Colosseum.

Amazing — Ed.

The RJ45 Connector Saga (Update):

Recap: I use Ethernet cables with RJ45 connectors on the ends. These connectors are very fragile, with the little plastic retainer pieces easily broken off.

The broken plastic piece holding the connector in place.

A friend suggested that I try a new cable instead of repairing the original.

It turns out that I did indeed have a spare RJ45 cable attached to my Switch device but not connected to any PC.

I tried using this cable instead of the one with a broken connector. No joy. My Linux machine didn't recognise the cable.

A brilliant thought: Reverse the ends of the original cable. Fit the "broken end" into the Switch (where it won't be likely to be touched accidentally) and use the good end at the back of the PC.

And it worked.

As added insurance, I've "cable-managed" the other ten cables at the back of the PC using a simple plastic twist tie. That way, I can get two hands to the video cable without the risk of touching any of the other cables.

What a relief!

— Ed.

PS: Look what I just saw on the Bunnings website:

The new cables have little semi-circular protectors!

Ten metre Ethernet cables with little semi-circular protectors!

Incredible — Ed.

Member response:

Hello Bob and Steve,

I have used these. The protector goes hard, and no amount of squeezing will apply enough pressure to release the plug.

I took to the protectors with a Stanley knife.



So, what do we do now? — 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.
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