2021 Newsletter: 52/121 — PreviousNext — (Attach.)

Sydney Harbour

Hello and Welcome,

Meeting TODAY

Penrith Group - Saturday, 5 Jun - 2:00 pm - 5:00 pm at the Penrith City 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.

Penrith City Library.

Penrith City Library (far left) and Train Station (far right)

— Jeff Garland, ( Jeff Garland<jeffcad.drafting@gmail.com> )

PS: Unfortunately, Jeff can't make it to today's meeting, and he sends his apologies.

The Library will still be open, and you are welcome to hold the meeting. Standard COVID-19 precautions apply — Ed.

Meetings This 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 email.

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.

Meetings Next Week

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

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

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

We will be running this meeting (face-to-face) or using Zoom; details later by email.

— Steve South

PS: Unfortunately, Steve is unable to run the meeting this month.

A Zoom meeting should still be possible, so watch your emails — Ed.

Schedule of Current & Upcoming Meetings ‡

40 2021/06/05 — 14:00-17:00 — 05 Jun, Sat — Penrith Group, Penrith City 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:

Xiaomi demos 200w wired charger recharging phone in just 8 minutes

See the iTWire article by Alex Zaharov-Reutt | Wednesday, 02 June 2021 18:56.

Chinese phone company Xiaomi's latest video shows a phone charging to 100% in 8 minutes with a 200W wired charger and 15 mins with a 120W wireless charger.

Using a 200W charger and a custom build of the Xiaomi 11 Pro smartphone, Xiaomi's video, is embedded below [ in the source article — Ed. ], can charge 10% in 44 seconds, 50% in 3 minutes and 22 seconds, and 100% in 8 minutes.

Using a 120W wireless charger, the Xiaomi charges to 10% in 1 minute and 14 seconds, 50% in 7 minutes, and 100% in 15 minutes.

Another test online by a third party shows faster speeds of 6 minutes and 55 seconds to go to 100% with the wired 200W charger and 14 mins and 17 seconds with the 120W wireless charger.

Xiaomi's existing and commercially available Mi 10 Ultra phone comes with a 120W wired charger, which charges 100% in just under 24 minutes.

It's important to note that the Custom Build of the Xiaomi 11 Pro smartphone has a special graphene-based super-fast charging battery, instead of the silicon-oxygen negative single-cell battery its commercially available version uses. This battery is already an advancement over the usual lithium-ion and lithium polymer batteries in most existing smartphones.

This means the custom build of the phone is using special technology not yet available to the public. Still, it does show that this kind of technology is most definitely being worked on and will appear in future phones, no doubt this decade.

So, how does this compare to an iPhone, for example?

The iPhone 12 Pro takes 30 minutes to charge to 50%, 73 minutes to charge to 90% and two hours 13 minutes for a full charge, using a 20W wired charger.

Apple's 15w Magsafe charger takes 2 hours and 56 minutes to charge an iPhone 12 Pro to 100%.

If you use the original 5w charger with earlier iPhones, it will take 3 hours and 7 minutes to charge to 100%.

Different iPhones and Androids with different sized batteries will take different lengths of time to charge, but charging has never been faster — if you use the right kind of charging adapter.

Read More »

The next generation of Windows to be announced on June 24 (June 25 in Australia)

See the iTWire article by Alex Zaharov-Reutt | Friday, 04 June 2021 11:07 am.

If you've been waiting for Windows 10X, which was the next-gen of Windows (and which has since been cancelled), then its successor — and the successor to Windows 10 — is coming on June 24, 2021.

Ok, so whether the next generation of Windows is due to launch and be available to the public on June 24 at 11 am ET in the US is yet to be seen, as it might just be an announcement that announces this new version is still yet to come later this year.

But presumably, we're going to see what this new version looks like, how it handles dual-screen devices, interacts with tablets, smartphones, connected home devices and much more.

There's expected to be an updated look and feel as well, as you'd expect.

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella hinted at this new version of Windows at its Build Conference last week, so it was clear something was brewing. Whether this new version of Windows will be something you can immediately download and use is yet to be seen. Microsoft does have form in announcing things like its Surface Duo smartphone, which took months to launch, and its Surface Neo tablet was meant to arrive in 2020 but is still AWOL.

Perhaps we'll see it at the June 24 event.

Of course, 11 am on June 24 in the US is 1 am, June 25 in Australia, and we'll see both Satya Nadella and Chief Product Officer Panos Panay headlining the launch event.

At the Build conference, Nadella said he's been testing the new OS for the past few months. He said: "We will create more opportunity for every Windows developer today and welcome every creator who is looking for the most innovative, new, open platform to build and distribute and monetise applications."

So, we'll have to wait and see what the new Windows looks like, but it is "coming soon".

Next-Gen Windows logo.

Read More »

Zoom delivers Centre Stage update for iPad Pro 2021 and Gallery View updates too.

See the iTWire article by Alex Zaharov-Reutt | Sunday, 30 May 2021 22:50.

If you have one of the new 2021 iPad Pro models, Zoom allows the new Centre Stage capability of the front-facing camera, while 12.9-inch iPad Pros can see more people in the Gallery View.

The Zoom blog has posted new information about taking advantage of the 2021 iPad Pro Centre Stage feature.

We're told that the two new features support for Apple's Centre Stage and expanded Gallery View will help you "better participate in calls, potentially stave off video fatigue, and better connect over Zoom."

The Centre Stage feature is new to Apple's 11-inch and 12.9-inch iPad Pro models, and it uses the ultrawide front camera and machine learning to keep you in the frame as you move, allowing you to go hands-free or move about during a video call.

Centre Stage also recognises when others join or exit the frame, automatically adjusting to see everyone.

New 48 view for Zoom.

With support for Centre Stage, Zoom tells us, "you can participate more naturally in Zoom video calls. Never again worry about whether you're out of frame during a workout, teaching a class, or celebrating with friends and family over Zoom."

"Zoom users will have an option during a Zoom video call to use Centre Stage on the latest iPad Pro. Apple says that Centre Stage image recognition is done on-device, and no image data is sent to the cloud."

"Centre Stage support is currently only available on Zoom 5.6.6 or later on the 11-inch (third generation) and the 12.9-inch (fifth generation) 2021 iPad Pro."

Read More »

Huge Bitcoin Mining Operation Found as UK Police Raided Suspected Cannabis Farm

See the ReviewGeek article by CORY GUNTHER @xguntherc MAY 28, 2021, 2:03 pm EDT.

Bitcoin Mining.

Police in the U.K. stumbled across an illegal cryptocurrency mining operation after conducting a raid at what they expected to be a cannabis farm. Bitcoin mining uses a ton of electricity, and now all that energy is causing problems for law enforcement.

The mine located in an industrial building outside of Birmingham was stealing thousands of pounds worth of electricity. Illegal activity was found, just not the type police expected.

For those unaware, cannabis farms use a ton of electricity and put out substantial heat signals, which police use to track down grow houses. So when the West Midlands Police spotted a significant heat source with a drone, they went in to bust a cannabis operation.

Law enforcement said they were tipped off about the location after getting reports about many people visiting the unit. Combine all that foot traffic with heat sources, and police just assumed it was for Marijuana.

Instead, police discovered a huge farm of over 100 specialized bitcoin rigs after busting down the doors. No one was home, unfortunately, so the investigation is still ongoing. Officers seized the equipment, but no arrests have been made.

Read More »

An Interesting Member-Provided Computer Link

Windows 10 update brings back everyone's least favorite pop-up alert.

— Jeff Garland

Fun Facts:

How to Make Your Raspberry Pi Look Like Windows or macOS

See the How-To Geek article by DAVE MCKAY @thegurkha MAY 27, 2021, 8:00 am EDT.

Give your Raspberry Pi a makeover with Twister OS. It's a Linux distribution with built-in one-click theming that imitates Windows and macOS operating systems. There are modern and retro options: For example, you can choose Windows 10-, Windows 7-, Windows XP-, or Windows 95-style themes.

The Incredible Raspberry Pi

What measures 3.5 inches by 2.2 inches by 0.7 inches (85mm by 56mm by 17mm) and has sales over 30 million units? It's the third best-selling general computer behind the PC and the Mac and the most successful British computer of all time. It's the Raspberry Pi single-board computer.

It was launched in February of 2012 as a means to an end. Ebon Upton, the founder of the Raspberry Pi Foundation, wanted to produce something that would get British schoolkids switched onto computers and coding in much the same way that the BBC microcomputer had in the 1980s.

The BBC microcomputer was a collaboration between the British Broadcasting Corporation and Acorn Computers Limited. The BBC made educational programs about computers and programming featuring the BBC microcomputer under the BBC Computer Literacy Project title. In British schools, the BBC microcomputer was the default educational computer.

The first two models of the Raspberry Pi were named model A and model B in homage to the two variants of the original BBC microcomputer. Acorn then designed the ARM processor, the most widely used processor globally and the heart of the Raspberry Pi.

Where the Raspberry Pi would differ from the BBC microcomputer was in price. A BBC model B cost £399 ($563) in 1981. The price of a Raspberry Pi model B in 2012 was £22 ($31). The cheapest Raspberry Pi model sells for £4 ($5).

The low price and the open, tinker-friendly design of the Raspberry Pi make it perfect for hundreds of applications outside of education. It's used by hobbyists and industry alike, and it fuels a thriving aftermarket add-on industry.

Choose Your Raspberry Pi OS

The official Raspberry Pi operating system is a customized version of Debian Linux called the Raspberry Pi OS. But you're not stuck with that. There are over 20 Linux-based operating systems available for the Raspberry Pi and plenty of non-Linux operating systems, too. For example, you can use Windows 10 IoT, Haiku, or RISC OS Open on your Raspberry Pi.

But what if you want to have something that looks like macOS or a version of Windows? Windows 10 IoT doesn't come with a desktop GUI, so you'll need to find another solution. Twister OS is the solution that you're seeking.

Twister OS is a customized version of Raspberry Pi OS with an extensive selection of themes — down to the icons — that offer the general look and feel of various versions of Windows and macOS. Twister OS contains a small utility that lets you hop back and forth between themes very quickly.

It will run best on a Raspberry Pi 4 but will be almost as responsive on a Raspberry Pi 3+. Out of curiosity, we tried it on a Raspberry Pi Model B+, and it worked, but at a glacial pace.

Twister Themes for the Raspberry Pi

Raspberry Pi Themes

Some of the themes have a dark mode. You can choose from the following:

  • Twister OS light mode.
  • Twister OS dark mode.
  • Twister 95, a Windows 95 theme.
  • Twister XP, a Windows XP theme.
  • Twister 7, a Windows 7 theme.
  • Twister 10 light, a Windows 10 theme.
  • Twister 10 dark, a Windows 10 theme in dark mode.
  • iTwister light, a macOs theme.
  • iTwister dark, a macOs theme in dark mode.
  • iTwister Sur light, a macOS Big Sur theme.
  • iTwister Sur dark, a macOS Big Sur theme in dark mode.

There are no Windows Vista or Windows 8 themes.

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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