2021 Newsletter: 50/121 — PreviousNext — (Attach.)

Sydney Harbour

Hello and Welcome,

Whoops — Attendance Correction

We had three members attend the Friday Forum on 14 May 2021. Myself, Terry Eakin and Tim Kelly.

We set up the computer and got it operating, and then went through the process of updating it.

However, because it had not been used for quite some time, there were too many updates to complete before closing down at noon.

Consequently, more updating will be required at the next meeting on Tuesday, 18 May 2021.


— Ron Ferguson,

Meeting This Week

Penrith Group - Saturday, 5 Jun - 2:00 pm - 5:00 pm at the Penrith Public Library

The meeting starts typically with a Q&A session around the table to enable members to share problems, advice and computer tips.

The group will then discuss any other technology or computer topics of interest.

— Jeff Garland

Meetings Next Week

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

Hi Team,

We will be running this meeting normally (face-to-face) or using Jitsi; details later by e-mail.

See the Progsig Meeting Reports:


The next meeting is on Tuesday 8th June 2021, at 6 pm.


— Steve OBrien

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

We'll have the usual Q&A and other discussions.

Schedule of Current & Upcoming Meetings ‡

40 2021/06/05 — 14:00-17:00 — 05 Jun, Sat — Penrith Group, Penrith Public Library
41 2021/06/08 — 17:30-20:30 — 08 Jun, Tue — Programming, L1 Woolley Room or via Jitsi
42 2021/06/11 — 10:00-12:30 — 11 Jun, Fri — Friday Forum, L1 Carmichael Room
44 2021/06/15 — 09:30-12:30 — 15 Jun, Tue — Tuesday Group, L1 Woolley Room
45 2021/06/19 — 13:30-16:30 — 19 Jun, Sat — Web Design, L1 Woolley Room or via Zoom
46 2021/06/22 — 17:30-20:30 — 22 Jun, Tue — MAIN Meeting, L1 Carmichael Room or via Zoom
47 2021/06/25 — 09:30-12:30 — 25 Jun, Fri — Digital Photography via Zoom

‡ As decided after assessing the Members' wishes (resumption of face-to-face meetings) via the latest Online Survey.

Tech News:

Australians want part of their salary to be paid in Bitcoin: report

See the iTWire article by Kenn Anthony Mendoza | Wednesday, 26 May 2021 11:43 am.

Despite the risks posed by Bitcoin, many Australians are still considering investing in cryptocurrency. Men who earn $100k+ are most interested, according to a Finder report.

Despite Bitcoin's volatile nature, interest in cryptocurrency remains high, with some Australians expressing interest to have part of their salary paid in Bitcoin, according to new research by Finder.

A Finder survey of 1,000 respondents found that one in four (24%) Australians would be willing to have part of their salary paid in Bitcoin.

Of those willing to be paid in Bitcoin, 14% say so because they think it is increasing in value, while 10% say it would help them invest before tax.

The Finder Bitcoin Survey.

The survey (pictured) estimates that 4.7 million Australians are willing to have part of their salary paid in the most popular cryptocurrency.

Taylor Blackburn, Finder personal finance specialist, says cryptocurrency is becoming more mainstream.

Bitcoin has seen impressive growth in the past year despite its volatility.

With more Australians looking for inflation hedges, yield-bearing assets, and alternative investment opportunities, it's not surprising that many people are willing to be paid part of their salary in Bitcoin.

The research reveals men from a higher income bracket who earn $100K+ are the most interested in Bitcoin.

Men (21%) are more than twice as likely as women (8%) to want to be paid in Bitcoin because its value increases, while 13% and 8% respectively say it would help them invest before tax.

The survey shows that 55% of Aussies are not interested in being paid partly in Bitcoin, while 13% say Bitcoin is too volatile and don't trust it. For 8% of respondents, they need to access all the money they make each payday.

Bitcoin appears more attractive to Gen X (22%) and millennials (19%) who want to be paid in the cryptocurrency because its value is going up. Only 1% of baby boomers and 13% of Gen Z agree.

Blackburn urges Australians to do their research before buying cryptocurrency or agreeing to be paid partly in Bitcoin.

Like with any investment, there are risks involved with cryptocurrencies. But with high risk can come high reward.

Be sure to do your due diligence, so you know what you are getting into, he warns.

According to the panel average on Finder's Bitcoin price predictions report, Bitcoin is set to peak at US$107,484 in 2021 before capping off the year at $94,967. That's 83% higher than the panel's end-of-2021 prediction from December 2020 of $51,951.

Finder says it is one of the first Australian companies to offer its employees the option to take home some of their salary in Bitcoin.

Read More »

Windows 10 Icons Get Revamp

See the Infopackets article by John Lister on May 25 2021, at 03:05 pm EDT.

Microsoft is downplaying the floppy disk icon in Windows 10. It's part of an overhaul that will remove some design elements that have been in place since Windows 95.

New Windows 10 Icons.

The changes will appear in the second significant update to Windows 10 this year, officially called 21H2, codenamed Sun Valley. It sounds as if the update is mainly going to be about appearance rather than functionality, which is either a welcome sign of leaving well enough alone or an indication of a lack of ambition and fear of screwing things up, depending on your level of cynicism.

As is usually the case with design refreshes, the aim is reportedly to make Windows 10 look "modern", which in 2021 means more rounded corners. The changes are also designed to make critical features such as the Start Menu, File Explorer and Action Center (the quick settings menu in the bottom right corner) look more consistent or, in Microsoft speak, unified.

Bulky Monitor Replaced

Perhaps the most notable changes will be to the default icons used in Windows. In some cases, the new icons will look a little cleaner and clearer with less pixelation, but the changes reflect changing technology in others.

For example, the icon for changing display settings such as putting a screen into hibernation mode is currently a bulky CRT monitor, as was the norm in the mid-90s. That's now being replaced with a flat-screen display. (Source: windowscentral.com)

Other changes are to do with perspective: the printer icon switches from a diagonal view to a head-on view, while a memory chip icon switches from diagonal to overhead.

Save Icon An Anachronism

The most notable changes may be to the icons for optical disk drives and floppy disk drives. They'll continue to show a CD or a floppy disk beside a PC drive bay, but the disk will be much smaller and more in proportion with the bay in both cases.

Given optical drives are getting rarer and very few PCs running Windows 10 will have a floppy drive, the changes at least show Microsoft is thorough in its graphical overhaul. It's also fair to note that these icons will be accurate for people who still need to use them.

That's a very different situation to software such as Microsoft Word still using the floppy disk image for a Save button, although many people using it will have never used such a disk. (Source: uxdesign.cc)

[ Please note that "uxdesign . cc" has a two-article limit per month for non-subscribers — Ed. ]

Read More »

Google Maps Adds Sidewalk Info

See the Infopackets article by John Lister on May 20 2021, at 05:05 pm EDT.

Google is making five tweaks to its Map services. It says the differences will make it safer and more useful.

The most spectacular, if arguably gimmicky, change is to Live View. That's an augmented reality feature that lets users hold up their phone and see the view from their camera with overlaid information from the Maps app.

It's meant for pedestrians (and preferably ones standing still) and will now include information such as details about shops and restaurants in view. It will also show the direction of chosen landmarks and show virtual street signs for navigating confusing intersections.

Pedestrians Aided

The following change is to the Street Maps, which is also designed for pedestrians. As well as extending the range of cities covered by the feature, Google is adding details such as whether the road has sidewalks and pedestrian islands. They'll be shown to scale, the idea being to help people using wheelchairs or baby carriages to better plan a route.

A more general tweak will show how busy a particular area is, based mainly on how many people running Google Maps are in the area. Google, somewhat trying to have it both ways, suggests this is a helpful tool for people to avoid crowds and an indicator for people looking for exciting and lively areas. (Source: blog.google)

Braking A Factor

Google Maps as a whole will now automatically customize the locations it prioritizes for display. For example, it will show coffee shops rather than restaurants in the morning. It will also consider the user's location: somebody away from their home area will see more tourist attractions highlighted on the map.

The final change is to the route planning for drivers. This already considers factors such as how many lanes a road has and how busy it is. Now the algorithm will also consider the location of busy intersections that increase the chances of having to brake suddenly.

This won't be an overriding factor but will be something of a "tiebreaker" suggesting the best route if it won't significantly increase the estimated journey time. (Source: thurrott.com)

Read More »

Some Interesting Member-Provided Computer Links

Windows 10 20H2 Update Is Now Available to Every Windows User.

How the Personal Computer Broke the Human Body. RSI & OHS issues with PCs.

Nine Vital Steps to Secure Your Windows 10 Computer.

Welcome to the new Microsoft Edge. It's time to expect more.

Take Ownership of Windows 10 Files and Folders With These 6 Tools.

15 Ways to Use Apple Watch Buttons & Digital Crown.

— Jeff Garland

Fun Facts:

Twenty Computer Facts you may not know

See the ComputerCPR article by computercpr | Aug 18, 2017.

Computers are a critical part of our daily lives. In the last two decades, computers have revolutionized business, relationships, and shopping and given rise to a whole new era of marketing and connection. By now, you probably know a computer is an incredible machine, but did you know just how amazing? Here's a list of the top 20 computer facts you might not know:

[ The first five facts were given in last week's Newsletter. The rest were delayed until this week because of the limited number of paragraphs allowed in the SWAY version of the Newsletter — Ed. ]

6. Some of the Biggest Computer Brands Started in Garages

This is true for Apple, Microsoft, and HP.

7. People Blink Less When They Use Computers

While the average person blinks about 20 times a minute under normal circumstances, people on computers only blink about seven times a minute.

8. Hackers Write About 6,000 New Viruses Each Month

These viruses are designed to target a wide selection of operating systems, so learning to avoid viruses and malware is essential!

9. More Than 80% of Daily Emails in the U.S. are Spam

Delete these emails immediately, and don't click any links or attachments they might contain to keep your data safe.

10. MyDoom is the Most Expensive Computer Virus in History

The virus cost an estimated $38.5 billion in damage and came about in January of 2006. Shortly after that, it earned a name for itself as the fastest-spreading virus ever.

11. The Parts for the Modern Computer Were First Invented in 1833

Charles Babbage put them together, but the first modern computer came about 120 years later.

12. The First Gigabyte Drive Cost $40,000

It was released in 1980 and weighed 550 lbs. How's that for a portable drive?

13. The Case of the First Macintosh Computer Includes 47 Signatures

On the inside of the device, Macintosh's entire 1982 division signed the case.

14. The Worst U.S. Security Breach of All Time Happened Because of a USB Stick

Someone found the stick (which a foreign intelligence agency infected) in a parking lot and plugged it into their computer. The computer had links to the U.S. Central Command. The attack happened in 2008 and resulted in the theft of thousands of classified and unclassified documents. The Pentagon spent about 14 months cleaning up the damage from the worm.

15. A Single Computer Catches 50% of all Wikipedia Vandalism

This computer has a 90% accuracy rate.

16. Computers Sort 95% of Mail

The U.S. Postal Service still hires individual employees to sort through addresses that are too sloppy for computers to understand.

17. MIT Has Computers That can Detect Fake Smiles

These computers can tell between genuine smiles and frustrated smiles.

18. Computers Might Soon be Able to Tell What Dogs Think

These computers are under development by a Scandinavian company. A prototype is purported to be available.

19. Russia Engineered a Computer That Ran on Water

The computer was built in 1936 and was meant to solve partial differential equations.

20. Disney Fired John Lasseter for Pushing Computer Animation

He's now the CCO of Pixar.

Computer Facts Everyone Should Know

Computers have come a long way in recent decades, and these computer facts showcase all the weird, wild, and unbelievable aspects of that transformation!

Read More »

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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