2021 Newsletter: 89/121 — PreviousNext — (Attach.)

Sydney Harbour

Hello and Welcome,

New Date Set for Our 2020/21 AGM

Regarding the continued lockdown due to COVID and in discussion with our group's committee, it has been decided to defer our AGM until Tuesday, 23 November 2021.

— Ron Ferguson

SMSA Closure and Future Hire

Dear Hirers,

I hope you have all been keeping well over the past few weeks.

In adherence with the current Greater Sydney Lockdown and Stay-at-Home orders, we regretfully confirm that the Sydney Mechanics' School of Arts will remain closed until further notice.

All events and Venue Hire due to take place during September have been cancelled. Please get in touch if you would like to discuss rescheduling your event.

We are now heading towards November and December when your groups are usually making plans to celebrate the end of the year together. Right now, those plans are uncertain, but we remain hopeful and will do all we can to accommodate these events. I will continue to communicate with you on our reopening and any regulations in connection to that.

Looking forward, we have opened our 2022 bookings early so that you can plan for next year. Please get in touch if you'd like to start making tentative bookings. Our current Venue Hire rates will remain unchanged until 31 December 2022.

SMSA staff continue to work from home during the lockdown, and I can still be contacted via email or on 02 9262 7300 from Monday - Thursday.

The SMSA encourages everyone to regularly check the list of hotspot locations and alerts on the NSW Health website and follow their advice.

I appreciate your continued patience and cooperation while we navigate the current circumstances. We look forward to welcoming you back to the SMSA post lockdown.

Kind Regards,

Kylie Campbell
Venue & Building Services Coordinator

Meeting TODAY

Web Design - Saturday, 18 Sep - 1:30 pm (2:00 pm meeting start) - 4:00 pm

Hi Everyone,

Our Web Design group is Saturday the 18th of September at 2 pm. This month it's all about colour or color depending on who is using it. I have found some great resources to help plan a colour scheme and develop gradients for backgrounds and other uses. We can also look at some of the free alternatives to the Adobe suite of programs.

Meeting Details:

Topic: SPCTUG Web Design Meeting

Time: Sep 18, 2021, 14:00 pm Canberra, Melbourne, Sydney

Join Zoom Meeting


Meeting ID: 896 0191 6230

Passcode: webdesign

— Steve South

Web Design Group

Meetings This Week

Tuesday Group - Tuesday, 21 Sep - 9:30 am (10:00 am meeting start) - noon

We'll have the usual Q&A and other discussions. [ SMSA CLOSED, see above. ]

Digital Photography - Friday, 24 Sep - 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.

Event: Digital Photography Meeting

Time: Friday, September 24 2021, 10:00 am Canberra, Melbourne, Sydney

Join the Zoom Meeting at:


Meeting ID: 835 7352 9283

Passcode: 598740

— John Lucke

Meetings Next Week

Main Meeting - Tuesday, 28 Sep - 5:30 pm (6:00 pm meeting start) - 8:00 pm

This will be a Zoom meeting; details later via email.

— Alex

Penrith Group - Saturday, 2 Oct - 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.

[ This meeting is suspended during the current COVID-19 Lockdown period — Ed. ]

— Jeff Garland

Schedule of Current & Upcoming Meetings ‡

64 2021/09/04 — 14:00-17:00 — 04 Sep, Sat — Penrith Group, Penrith City Library
65 2021/09/10 — 10:00-12:30 — 10 Sep, Fri — Friday Forum, L1 Carmichael Room Cancelled
67 2021/09/14 — 17:30-20:30 — 14 Sep, Tue — Programming via Jitsi
68 2021/09/18 — 13:30-16:30 — 18 Sep, Sat — Web Design via Zoom
69 2021/09/21 — 09:30-12:30 — 21 Sep, Tue — Tuesday Group, L1 Woolley Room Cancelled
70 2021/09/24 — 09:30-12:30 — 24 Sep, Fri — Digital Photography via Zoom
71 2021/09/28 — 17:30-20:30 — 28 Sep, Tue — MAIN Meeting via Zoom
72 2021/10/02 — 14:00-17:00 — 02 Oct, Sat — Penrith Group, Penrith City Library

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

Tech News:

MS Office, Internet Explorer Form Zero-Day Attack

See the Infopackets article by John Lister on September 14 2021, at 02:09 pm EDT.

Security experts have warned users to take extra care opening Microsoft Office files. An unpatched bug in Internet Explorer can affect users regardless of their preferred browser.

The bug takes advantage of the way Office files can open links in Internet Explorer. It means that attackers can craft Office files that, once opened, automatically load an "attack" page in Internet Explorer that installs malware. Exactly what malware to install is up to the attacker.

There is some protection for some users. In many cases, Office will by default open a document in Protected View, which blocks links from automatically opening. This won't help in every case, and there's also a risk of users being tricked into switching out of Protected View.

Zero-Day Attack

Beyond this, it's a very nasty type of attack known as a Zero Day. That means that attackers are known to be actively exploiting it before Microsoft has issued a security fix. The result is that Microsoft has "zero days" head start in the race to patch machines before they get infected.

Researchers from a company called Expmon say they reported the issue to Microsoft last Sunday. Microsoft has logged it as vulnerability CVE-2021-40444 and is working on a fix. (Source: microsoft.com)

Office 2019 & 365 Affected

Expmon researchers say they've successfully tested an attack on Windows 10 computers running Office 2019 and Office 365. They add that the nature of the exploit means that it should always work rather than it being a case of hit and miss. (Source: engadget.com)

One security mitigation suggested by Microsoft is to disable the ActiveX feature in Internet Explorer hijacked in this attack to deliver the malware. That's more an office tip for IT administrators than ordinary home users, however, as it involves editing the Windows Registry. That's usually only advised for more confident Windows users.

Read More »

Windows Updates Failed for Last Month

For the last month or so, I've been getting Windows Update Failed to install Cumulative Update for .NET Framework 3.5 and 4.8 for Windows 10 Version 20H2 for x64 (KB5003537), with Error message "0x800703f1".

Windows Update also failed to install Cumulative Update Preview for Windows 10 Version 20H2 0f x64-based Systems (KB5005101), with the same Error message "0x800703f1".

Microsoft's helpful advice:

If you keep getting error 0x800703f1, the issue might be caused by file corruption. This can occur for various reasons and cause your Windows installation to become corrupted. However, you can fix the corruption problems simply by running an SFC scan ... When Command Prompt starts, enter sfc /scannow and press Enter.

I tried "sfc /scannow" as Admin, but that failed with the error message "Windows resource protection could not start the repair service", so I tried Chkdsk in Safe Mode. That found no errors, but a subsequent sfc command failed to complete, giving the same "Windows resource…" error message as above.

Is anyone else having these unexpected problems?

Windows Update Failed

To add insult to injury, the "Pause updates" is greyed out!

Windows Update Failed-1

Windows Update Failed-2

And a suggestion from Jeff Garland:

Restart Windows in safe mode.

Return to the previous update.

Best of luck.

Best regards
— Jeff Garland

Thanks, I'll check it out.

— Ed.

Interesting Member-provided Computer Link

How to Run Windows 11 in a Virtual Machine

— Jeff Garland

Fun Facts:

Zoom meeting with one member going for "the second jab"

Do you all remember the old Diagnostic & Repair SIG that the Club used to hold in Hornsby?

In the pre-COVID-19 days, we used to get together at the Hornsby RSL Club for a meal once a month and chat over computers etc.

These days, all our meetings are via Zoom.

Today, Friday 17th Sept, was our usual meeting day, and one of our members was due for his second jab.

He connected via Zoom on his smartphone and cycled down to the local Medical Centre showing a somewhat shaky street-view.

His home Wi-Fi soon cut out after he was 100 metres from the house, so it then switched to 4G, with excellent reception.

We watched, right up to the point where the nurse said, "Roll up your sleeve, please". Then all we could do was listen to the sounds.

Very entertaining.

— Ed.

A Simple Equation with an 81-digit Answer!

A mathematician asks his assistant to buy some Apples, Bananas and Clementines (a variety of Mandarin fruit).

The numbers are a, b and c, respectively, but they must obey the following relation:

a / (b + c) + b / (a + c) + c / (a + b) = 4

If asked for integer solutions, how hard would it be to find them?

The numbers a = 11, b = 4 and c = -1 work because 11 / (4 - 1) + 4 / (11 - 1) + - 1 / (11 + 4) gives 11/3 + 4/10 - 1/15 or 110/30 + 12/30 - 2/30 = 120/30 = 4.

But, unfortunately, not all of a, b and c are positive.

It turns out that the solution involves a very complicated Elliptic Curve equation.

See this 18m33s YouTube video by Mark Newman | 2 Sept 2020.

Buying Apples, Bananas and Clementines

An amazing calculation leads to "a = 154,476,802,­108,746,166,­441,951,315,­019,919,837,­485,664,325,­669,565,431,­700,026,634,­898,253,202,­035,277,999".

The b and c values are a little lower.

That's an 81-digit value!

If you are wondering whether it has any small factors, we get prime factors p, q and r:

p = 857,964,­784,162,644,­827,849,329 (24-digits) x

q = 236,856,887,­513,169,527,­988,775,717 (27-digits) x

r = 760,­164,860,700,­319,180,542,­308,384,243 (30-digits)

Needless to say, this sort of equation is under current study by leading mathematicians.

Have a look at this 13-page PDF paper mentioned in the YouTube notes.

In the paper, they comment that replacing 4 by 896 in the equation leads to an estimate of ln(a) > 5036092336048.36658. That is, a has in excess of 2.187 trillion digits.

Incredible — 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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