2021 Newsletter: 94/121 — PreviousNext — (Attach.)

Sydney Harbour

Hello and Welcome,

Don't Forget — Daylight Saving Time Starts TONIGHT

3 Oct 2021 — Daylight Saving Time Starts.

When local standard time is about to reach
Sunday, 3 October 2021, 2:00:00 am clocks are turned forward 1 hour to
Sunday, 3 October 2021, 3:00:00 am local daylight time instead.

Sunrise and sunset will be about 1 hour later on 3 Oct 2021 than the day before. There will be more light in the evening.

Also called Spring Forward, Summer Time, and Daylight Savings Time.

— Ed.

Meeting TODAY

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

Meeting This Week

Friday Forum - Friday, 8 Oct - 9:30 am (10:00 am meeting start) - noon

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

— Tim Kelly

Meetings Next Week

Programming - Tuesday, 12 Oct - 5:30 pm (6:00 pm meeting start) - 8:00 pm

Hi Team,

We will be running this meeting using Jitsi; details later by email.

See the Progsig Meeting Reports:


The next meeting is on Tuesday 12th October 2021, at 6 pm.


— Steve OBrien

Web Design - Saturday, 16 Oct - 1:30 pm (2:00 pm meeting start) - 4:00 pm

We will be running this meeting using Zoom; details later by email.

— Steve South

Schedule of Current & Upcoming Meetings ‡

72 2021/10/02 — 14:00-17:00 — 02 Oct, Sat — Penrith Group, Penrith City Library Suspended
73 2021/10/08 — 10:00-12:30 — 08 Oct, Fri — Friday Forum, L1 Carmichael Room Cancelled
75 2021/10/12 — 17:30-20:30 — 12 Oct, Tue — Programming via Jitsi
76 2021/10/16 — 13:30-16:30 — 16 Oct, Sat — Web Design via Zoom
77 2021/10/19 — 09:30-12:30 — 19 Oct, Tue — Tuesday Group, L1 Woolley Room Cancelled
78 2021/10/22 — 09:30-12:30 — 22 Oct, Fri — Digital Photography via Zoom
79 2021/10/26 — 17:30-20:30 — 26 Oct, Tue — MAIN Meeting via Zoom

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

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 Reopening & Venue Hire plans

In line with the Service NSW Reopening NSW Roadmap, detailing the post lockdown plans after the state reaches double vaccination rates of 70%, I am delighted to announce that the SMSA will be reopening its doors on Monday 11 October from 9:00 am.

Venue Hire can recommence for fully vaccinated people providing we adhere to strict operational terms and conditions as outlined on the Service NSW website.

On reopening, there will be some physical distancing and safety regulations that must be observed at all times when visiting the SMSA.

Masks are mandatory inside all SMSA venues until further notice. All guests must register via the QR codes displayed in the GF Lobby and around Level 1. Hand sanitiser is available on all floors as well.

The 4m2 (four square metre) per person rule has been reinstated, which impacts room capacities.

The Henry Carmichael Theatre will be temporarily restricted to 50 attendees in total.

Single meeting rooms will be restricted to 7 guests and a Double Meeting Room 14 guests in total.

Please note, as stated on the website, "Only fully vaccinated people and those with medical exemptions will have access to the freedoms allowed under the Reopening NSW roadmap".

Over the next week, I will determine how to appropriately and confidentially collect this information. Any groups who have upcoming confirmed bookings will be contacted directly. Please do not hesitate to get in touch if you have any queries about your events.

Changes to these restrictions are currently scheduled for 1 December, depending on vaccination rates. I will send an email to all hirers closer to that date detailing those changes.

2022 Bookings - Open! Are you planning your future events? The SMSA will reopen from 5th January and are happily taking your bookings for the new year. Click here to complete a venue hire enquiry form or give the SMSA a call on (02) 9262 7300 to discuss your options.

We thank you for your patience during this lockdown and look forward to welcoming you back to onsite events at the SMSA.

Kind regards,

Kylie Campbell
Venue & Building Services Coordinator

SMSA (Sydney Mechanics' School of Arts)
280 Pitt Street, Sydney NSW 2000
02 9262 7300 | smsa.org.au

Tech News:

MS Gives More Detail On Windows 11 Compatibility

See the Infopackets article by John Lister on September 27 2021, at 04:09 pm EDT.

Microsoft has released its Windows 11 eligibility checker tool. It now gives more detail on why a computer might not be ready to run the new system.

The app in question is officially titled "PC Health Check", though that's a little misleading as it doesn't relate to whether the computer is currently working OK or has any serious problems. Instead, it checks whether the computer is eligible to run Windows 11. It's available using this link:


The original version a few months ago didn't give much detail other than whether the PC "passed" or "failed", leading to a lot of confusion among users running relatively new machines. In many cases, the problem was that the computer either didn't have a security feature called Trusted Platform Module (TPM) 2.0 or that it wasn't enabled. (Source: pcgamer.com)

Color Code System

The new version instead gives specific information about why the PC doesn't meet the requirements. It uses an exclamation mark on a yellow circle to indicate where the user needs to change settings and a cross on a red circle to show a problem with the hardware, such as an unsupported processor.

In both cases, the tool also shows a link to a page with more detail. For example, one lists all processor makes and supported models, while another explains how to activate a Trusted Platform Module 2.0 where one is installed. (Source: microsoft.com)

The tool also shows a list of specifications that the computer meets, along with a detailed explanation of what happens if the computer can't get the Windows 11 upgrade. (The short version is that it will continue running Windows 10 and get updates until October 2025.)

TPM Still An Issue

While the updated tool does remove some of the mystery, it doesn't solve the critical problem of insisting on the Trusted Platform Module 2.0 when many recent computers don't have one in place. As fixing this involves getting hold of a new hardware module, physically installing it, and configuring it — all of which is far from technically simple — it's likely that many users will give Windows 11 a miss.

That's far from ideal, given Microsoft prefers as many people as possible to run the latest system. It also risks returning a common dilemma in 2025, with Microsoft having to decide whether to stop supporting Windows 10 and create security risks if it's still widely used.

Read More »

OS/2's Last Stand: IBM OS/2 Warp 4 Turns 25

See the How-To Geek article by BENJ EDWARDS | @benjedwards | SEP 26 2021, 8:00 am EDT.

IBM's Warp 4 turns 25

Twenty-five years ago — on September 26, 1996 — IBM launched OS/2 Warp Version 4, its last major attempt to compete with Microsoft Windows in desktop operating systems. While a competent and highly regarded OS, it didn't take the OS crown. Here's a look at why Warp 4 was remarkable — and how it lives on in unexpected ways.

OS/2: IBM's Alternative to Windows

IBM OS/2 is a computer operating system that originated in 1987 as a successor of IBM PC-DOS (also known as MS-DOS when released by its developer, Microsoft). OS/2 began as a partnership between IBM and Microsoft, but the pair split up around 1990 after the release of Windows 3.0 — the two companies wanted to go in different directions. In the following years, OS/2 grew in sophistication while competing head-to-head with Microsoft to control the PC-operating system space.

In 1994, IBM released OS/2 Warp (version 3), its first major version of OS/2 developed after its partnership with Microsoft imploded, with IBM developers doing the heavy lifting on the development front. As a result, OS/2 Warp 3 included a distinctive flavour to its interface while introducing internet features and maintaining rock-solid stability and backward compatibility with MS-DOS and Windows 3.x programs.

With the launch of OS/2 Warp 3, IBM made a huge marketing push in a solid attempt to unseat Microsoft's control of the PC-operating system market. Depending on who you ask, Warp didn't catch on due to expensive requirements for developers, limited hardware support, monopolistic tricks from Microsoft, or IBM's marketing blunders. Windows was also an entrenched standard with a relatively low cost, broad hardware support, and plenty of developers on its side.

All that being said, OS/2 Warp won its share of die-hard fans. When IBM released OS/2 Warp Version 4 in 1996, they found a mature, stable, fully-featured 32-bit operating system that could easily hold its own against Windows 95. The fact that Microsoft won anyway with "inferior" technology was one of the most frustrating tech tales of the 1990s.

OS/2 Warp 4 retailed for $249 or $149 for an upgrade (that's about $431 and $258 when adjusted to today's dollars). That was more expensive than Windows 95's retail price of $209.95 at launch, but it was still competitive for a consumer OS at the time.

OS/2 Warp 4 Requirements and Features

IBM released OS/2 Warp 4 in several configurations, including a consumer version and a server version ("OS/2 Warp Server") designed mainly to host local area networks. The regular Warp Version 4 required a 33 MHz Intel 486 CPU or higher (but IBM recommended a Pentium 100 for its voice navigation features), 12-16 MB of memory, and a video card that could display 640x480 with 256 colours.

Among Warp 4's many new features, IBM most often touted the following in its marketing and advertising materials.

Java Integration:
OpenDoc Support:

Some other minor features touted on the back of the OS/2 Warp 4 retail box include support for OpenGL (the 2D/3D graphics API) and TrueType fonts, Lotus Notes Mail (a messaging system), the inclusion of the IBM WebExplorer browser, and access to Netscape Navigator for OS/2 (a free download).

Read More »

China Bans Bitcoin and All Cryptocurrency

See the How-To Geek article by DAVE LECLAIR | @davegleclair | SEP 24 2021, 11:19 am EDT.

Anonymous Bitcoin

The Chinese government is cracking down on Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. In a big step forward in its anti-crypto plans, which started in May, the People's Bank of China has decided that crypto transactions are illegal and called for a formal ban of all Bitcoin and crypto-related transactions.

The People's Bank of China says it's concerned about national security and the safety of residents' assets. Bloomberg reports that the country's bank says that cryptocurrency isn't a fiat currency, which means it isn't a government-issued currency and is not backed by a commodity.

China is also looking to root out the mining of digital assets. Chinese officials are targeting crypto because of its possible ties to fraud, money laundering, and excessive energy usage. The country has a very high concentration of the world's crypto miners, using a considerable amount of energy. China is already facing a severe power crisis, and excessive mining isn't helping.

As you might expect, the price of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies were harmed by the announcement, with Bitcoin falling about 8%, down to just over $41,000. It has since rebounded a little and is now selling for closer to $42,000, though. Etherium also dropped and is now selling for around $2,800, a 7.6% decrease. Even Dogecoin fell by more than 6% after the news broke.

Whether it'll have a long-term effect on the price remains to be seen, but some experts think it'll just be temporary. China's ban on all cryptocurrency trading activity will have some short-term impact on the currency's valuation. Still, long-term implications are likely to be muted, said Ganesh Viswanath Natraj, an assistant professor of finance at Warwick Business School.

Read More »

Fun Facts:

Curious Sixth Roots

See the 4m54s YouTube video by "letsthinkcritically" showing some interesting algebra.

Sixth roots

The curious thing is that, after some expression substitutions and algebra, the answer comes out to be sqrt(2).

My question is, "Where did the 2 come from?"

Let's start with (sqrt(2) + sqrt(6)). If we square this, we get (8 + 4 * sqrt(3)). That's rather strange because the sqrt(2) and sqrt(6) disappear, and we're left with sqrt(3).

That's probably what happens with the original expression, above. With similar expressions, the fact that we have a difference means that a sqrt(6) sometimes cancels and other times a sqrt(2) or sqrt(3) might be left.

It all depends on the exact algebra involved.

Reversing this procedure, we can find the square root of (26 + 15 * sqrt(3)) which turns out to be ( 5 * sqrt(2) / 2 + 3 * sqrt(6) / 2 ) — check by squaring this expression.

Similarly, we could probably find the cube root of (26 + 15 * sqrt(3)) and see that it, too, involves sqrt(2) and sqrt(6).

Combining the square root and cube root could probably produce the sixth roots we seek.

As they say in all the best Maths books, "That's left as an exercise for the reader".

Try making other expressions to see what square roots you have left. You'll be amazed.

Just using arithmetic, you can check the following using the Windows 10 Calculator:

(26 + 15 * sqrt(3))^(1/6) = 1.­93185165257­8136573499­4863994578...

(26 - 15 * sqrt(3))^(1/6) = 0.­51763809020­5041524697­7976752481...

Subtracting, we get: 1.­41421356237­3095048801­6887242097...

Squaring, gives 2.­00000000000­0000000000­0000000000... and subtracting 2 gives a roundoff error of -5.­66469884735­9754103015­014262247e-45 (a very small number).

— 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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