2021 Newsletter: 96/121 — PreviousNext — (Attach.)

Sydney Harbour

Hello and Welcome,

October Face-to-Face Meetings Cancelled

We have cancelled face to face meetings at SMSA until the end of October 2021.

We will review this decision near the end of October with the possibility of resuming face to face meetings for November 2021.

— Ron Ferguson,

Meetings This 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

Meetings Next Week

Tuesday Group - Tuesday, 19 Oct - 9:30 am (10:00 am meeting start) - noon

We'll have the usual Q&A and other discussions. [ Meeting Cancelled until further notice — Ed. ]

Digital Photography - Friday, 22 Oct - 9:30 am (10:00 am meeting start) - noon

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

— John Lucke

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 metres) 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:

Ten hours after the outage ended, Facebook has little to say

See the iTWire article by Sam Varghese | Tuesday, 05 October 2021 6:38 pm.

Social media behemoth Facebook has released its first post about how the site and its associated properties Instagram, WhatsApp and Oculus Web went down for six hours on Tuesday AEDT but reading it is of little use.

Apart from stating the bleeding obvious, the problem was caused by a BGP misconfiguration — which has been known by world+dog for more than a few hours — Facebook's Engineering and Infrastructure vice-president Santosh Janardhan said little, apart from offering an apology.

The second-longest outage in the company's history occurred from about 2.30 am AEDT to about 8.20 am AEDT on Tuesday.

While Facebook, a trillion-dollar company, could not offer a decent explanation, a much smaller firm, Web infrastructure and website security company Cloudflare, published a detailed blog post two hours after the outage was resolved.

Janardhan said: "Our engineering teams have learned that configuration changes on the backbone routers that coordinate network traffic between our data centres caused issues that interrupted this communication.

"This disruption to network traffic had a cascading effect on the way our data centres communicate, bringing our services to a halt."

And then, he offered some platitudes: "Our services are now back online, and we're actively working [as opposed to passively working?] to return them to regular operations fully.

"We want to make clear at this time we believe the root cause of this outage was a faulty configuration change. We also have no evidence that user data was compromised as a result of this downtime."

Facebook's last post on Twitter was 14 hours ago. Its media blog and its so-called newsroom haven't changed from what iTWire reported earlier. However, the latest item on its newsroom does have a lovely picture of a woman in sunglasses!

Steve Gibson on Twitter:

Someone on the Facebook recovery effort has explained that a routine BGP update went wrong, which in turn locked out those with remote access who could reverse the mistake. Those who do have physical access do not have authorization on the servers. Catch-22.

Read More »

Remembering Steve Jobs, 10 years on, after his passing on October 5, 2011

See the iTWire article by Alex Zaharov-Reutt Tuesday, 05 October 2021 at 11:52 am.

Steven Paul Jobs sought to leave a dent in the universe, and he did, changing the world with his vision and determination, creating the world's most successful technology company and changing personal computing for the better.

Steven Paul Jobs. Born on February 24, 1955, and sadly leaving us all too soon on October 5, 2011, Wikipedia describes him as an American business magnate, industrial designer, investor and media proprietor.

A co-founder of Apple, as well as its chairman, and at different times, its CEO, Jobs was also the chairman and majority shareholder of Pixar; the founder, chairman and CEO of computer company NeXT, and was on the board of The Walt Disney Company following Disney's acquisition of Pixar.

Jobs was also a pioneer of the personal computing eras, not only in the 70s and 80s with the Apple I, II, Lisa and Mac, but also of the 2000s through to today with the smartphone and tablet eras that took the personal computer and made it even more personal than ever.

Where Bill Gates saw a computer on every desk, Steve Jobs put a computer in every pocket. Where Bill Gates tried selling tablet computers for up to US $5000, Steve Jobs first iPad was US $499, a price that has fallen to US $329, despite inflation continually pushing down the value of the US dollar.

Where Microsoft, Palm, Nokia, Sony Ericsson and others tried creating pocket and palm PCs, Internet communicators and phones that introduced ever greater levels of smart technologies, Steve Jobs brought the iPhone to life with three simple concepts in one.

The iPhone was a revolutionary mobile phone, a widescreen iPod with touch controls, and a breakthrough Internet communications device with desktop-class email, web browsing, search and maps, all in one small and lightweight handheld device.

After 15 generations, we are now at the iPhone 13. Despite very impressive folding screens from Samsung, despite Google's advances in computational photography, despite the Palm WebOS phone introducing the gesture-based interface that iOS and Android today take for granted, despite Android being on well over two billion smartphones worldwide, despite an avalanche of price-cutting competition from Chinese smartphone makers, Apple has prevailed.

A great deal of Apple's success is thanks to the brilliance of Steve Jobs, who demanded the best from his workers, even if his personality was reportedly abrasive at times. Jobs clearly didn't suffer fools gladly or at all.

Read More »

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How to Get Rid of Teams on Windows 11

See the How-To Geek article by BENJ EDWARDS | @benjedwards | OCT 4, 2021, 8:00 am EDT.

If Microsoft Teams is getting on your nerves in Windows 11 — popping up when you log in, always running in the background, or launching when you click the "Chat" taskbar icon — here's how to get rid of it.

Why Does Microsoft Want Me To Use Teams?

Teams is Microsoft's collaboration and chat app. It supports audio and video calls, text-based chat, group chat, and synchronizing schedules, among other features. Teams is a competitor to services such as Zoom, Google Chat, and Slack and can be considered a replacement for Skype, another Microsoft Product. Microsoft adds value to its Windows platform by getting people to use its services, which helps it make more money. That's why it wants you to use Teams.

While Teams can be handy for some people, having it always running on your system can be an annoyance if you don't use it. Luckily, it's possible to avoid or disable Teams, although you can't remove it entirely without potentially damaging your Windows 11 installation because Microsoft considers it an essential part of Windows. We'll go over several strategies in the sections ahead — ranging from least to most drastic removal measures.

Hide the Teams Chat Taskbar Icon

By default, Windows 11 shows a Teams Chat icon in your taskbar (that looks like a purple word bubble with a camera icon inside). If you'd like to hide it, right-click the taskbar and select Taskbar Settings. When Settings opens to the Personalization > Taskbar page, expand the Taskbar Items section if necessary, then flip the switch beside Chat to Off.

The Chat icon will disappear immediately from your taskbar. This doesn't stop Teams from running in the background, but it does put it one step further out of sight.

Prevent Teams From Launching at Startup

If you've used Windows 11 for a while, you'll notice that Teams likes to pop up whenever you log into your Windows user account. Luckily it's easy to make it stop. First, open Settings by pressing Windows+i. Or you can right-click the Start button and select Settings.

When Settings appears, click Apps in the sidebar, then select Startup.

In Startup Settings, you'll see a list of Startup Apps that launch whenever you log in. Locate Microsoft Teams in the list and flip the switch beside it to Off.

After that, close Settings. If Teams is still running in the background, quit by clicking the caret arrow beside the speaker and Wi-Fi icons in the taskbar (also near the clock). When a small bubble menu appears, right-click the Teams icon (purple with a T on it) and click Quit.

At this point, Teams won't run again unless you launch it manually, although it's still on your system. If that's a problem, move on to the next section.

Uninstall Microsoft Teams

If you'd like to remove Microsoft Teams from your application list, it's pretty easy to do. First, open Settings by pressing Windows+i (or right-clicking the Start button and selecting Settings). In Settings, click Apps, then select Apps & Features.

Scroll down in the Apps List and locate Microsoft Teams. Click the three vertical dots button beside its entry and select Uninstall.

Settings will ask you to confirm with a pop-up. Click Uninstall again. After a moment, Microsoft Teams will completely vanish from the list of installed Apps.

But surprise! Teams is not completely gone from your system because it's an essential part of how the Chat taskbar icon works. To keep Teams from coming back, disable the Chat icon in the taskbar (see the section above). If you click that icon, Teams will automatically reinstall itself and undo every step in the paragraphs above.

Read More »

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I Switched from LastPass to 1Password (and You Should, Too)

See the ReviewGeek article by CAMERON SUMMERSON | @summerson | JUL 23, 2020, 8:00 am EDT.

I've been using LastPass as my primary password manager for many years — if I had to guess, I'd say it has to be close to 10 years now. And over those years, it has let me down, disappointed me, and frustrated me on multiple occasions. A few weeks ago, I finally made the switch to 1Password. I should've done it ages ago.

There's nothing glaringly wrong with LastPass — or at least that's what I told myself for multiple years. Sure, the Android app doesn't always auto-fill options, and the Chrome extension stays logged in all the time. The app has suffered numerous data breaches over the years too. But that's all par for the course.

Not even close

I honestly didn't realize how poor of a password manager LastPass is until I used 1Password. The Android autofill issues are one thing — a minor annoyance at best — but the poor security implementation for an app that's supposed to store some of your most private information is downright inexcusable.

LastPass' Security Protocols Are Pathetic

If you have a LastPass account, you already know how this works: install the app or go to the website and log in. Maybe you also have two-factor authentication enabled on your account — good for you. But that's optional, and if you don't already know that LastPass offers 2FA, then it's pretty much guaranteed that you don't have it enabled. (How could you enable something you weren't aware of, after all?)

And if you install the Chrome extension, you only have to log in once. After that, as long as the computer stays online, you'll never be asked to log in again. At that point, anyone who has access to your computer also has access to your passwords. That's a disaster just waiting to happen. You can change this behaviour in LastPass' extension settings, but it's just baffling that auto-lock isn't enabled by default. You should not have to opt-in for better security, especially in a password manager.

But 1Password does things differently. First of all, it doesn't just force 2FA out of the box, but it sets a secret key when you create your account. A highly complex key is required every time you log in on a new device (note: only on the first login — after the device is confirmed, you can log in with just your username and password). The key is automatically generated and shared with you in a document when you sign up for 1Password. This key is also stored on your trusted devices, so it's easy to keep secure but hard to lose.

That's high-level security for all your passwords. Do you know what else 1Password does that LastPass doesn't? Auto-lock the vault in the Chrome extension by default. Both 1Password and LastPass lock the vault after a period of inactivity on mobile, but the same doesn't apply to browser extensions. It's baffling. (If you use LastPass and don't want to switch, please enable this feature Account Options > Extensions Preferences > Log Out after this many minutes of inactivity.)

Now, LastPass could fix both of these issues pretty easily by forcing 2FA and auto-locking the vault by default. But it's been years now, and neither of those things has been done. Hard to say if or when they ever will. So, it's time to switch.

1Password Has Never Seen a Data Breach

Since 2011, LastPass has been involved in five data breaches or other security incidents — 2011, 2015, 2016, 2017, and 2019. Some of these weren't major, just exploits that were discovered. And in all of those cases, LastPass did a notable job of disabling or patching these vulnerabilities. It's fair to give credit where it's due.

But if you Google 1password data breach, the first option isn't some high-profile leak in which 1Password was involved. It's a link to the 1Password blog about what would happen if the company is ever part of a breach, which starts with the words 1Password has never been hacked. If you're considering a switch, this is worth a read. Even if you're not considering a switch right now, it's worth a read. It might change your mind.

The Android App Is Far More Reliable


Switching Was More Painless Than I Ever Expected


But there's also the question of pricing. For most people, LastPass is free — you can use it on multiple devices without paying a dime. If you want to add encrypted file storage to the mix, you can do so for $3 a month.

But 1Password is $3 a month out of the gate or $5 a month for your entire family. You know the saying you get what you pay for? Well, I don't think it's more accurate than it is right here — 1Password is more secure and more convenient than LastPass, which more than makes it worth $3 a month.

If you've been considering switching from LastPass to 1Password, I highly recommend it. I wish I would've done it years ago.

Disclosure: 1Password offers free accounts for journalists, which I switched to before writing. This in no way shaped the findings or outcome of the article.


Read More »

Fun Facts:

The New Method to Set Up Raspberry Pi (2021 Update)

See the 21m13s YouTube video by Tim Draper | 25 Sept 2021.

Learn the new way to set up your Raspberry Pi device using Raspberry Pi Imager. This video will step you through the exact process to format your Micro SD card and install the Raspbian operating system, as well as booting up and configuring your Raspberry Pi. We will also walk through how to connect to your device over SSH and VNC Remote Desktop.

My name is Tim Draper, and I live in Boston, MA. I work for a marketing technology startup and love to teach others about emerging technology around artificial intelligence internet of things, and the Google Cloud Platform.

The video goes through the software download using a MAC computer.

Similar options are available through Windows 10.

The Pi Configuration and other tweaks are also described in detail.

The video also shows how to log in with remote access via SSH from your local area network.

And finally, a quick mention of other hardware devices you can plug into your Raspberry Pi is shown.

Have some fun with setting up your own Raspberry Pi.

There are many sources of Raspberry Pi Help on the internet and, of course, the Raspberry Pi home site, https://www.raspberrypi.org.

Watch 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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