2021 Newsletter: 103/115 — PreviousNext — (Attach.)

Sydney Harbour

Hello and Welcome,

Member Survey: When do we Resume Face-To-Face Meetings?

Now that "everyone" is resuming everyday life after the Pandemic, the Committee would like to know your preference on resuming face-to-face meetings.

Steve South has prepared another short Survey to help test the mood of the Membership.

It has only these questions: Do you wish to resume meetings in November? Or would you prefer January or February 2022?

To have your say, please go to the Member Survey.

Thank you.

— Ed.

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

Meeting This Week

Penrith Group - Saturday, 6 Nov - 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

Meetings Next Week

Programming - Tuesday, 9 Nov - 5:30 pm (6:00 pm meeting start) - 8:00 pm

Hi Team,

We will be running this meeting using Jitsi; details later by e-mail.

See the Progsig Meeting Reports:


See you on Tuesday, at 6 pm.


— Steve OBrien

Friday Forum - Friday, 12 Nov - 9:30 am (10:00 am meeting start) - noon

We'll have the usual Q&A and other discussions. [ SMSA May be OPEN; see above. ]

— Tim Kelly

Schedule of Current & Upcoming Meetings ‡

80 2021/11/06 — 14:00-17:00 — 06 Nov, Sat — Penrith Group, Penrith City Library Suspended
81 2021/11/09 — 17:30-20:30 — 09 Nov, Tue — Programming via Jitsi
82 2021/11/12 — 10:00-12:30 — 12 Nov, Fri — Friday Forum, L1 Carmichael Room Cancelled
84 2021/11/16 — 09:30-12:30 — 16 Nov, Tue — Tuesday Group, L1 Woolley Room Cancelled
85 2021/11/20 — 13:30-16:30 — 20 Nov, Sat — Web Design via Zoom
86 2021/11/23 — 17:30-20:30 — 23 Nov, Tue — MAIN Meeting via Zoom
87 2021/11/26 — 09:30-12:30 — 26 Nov, Fri — Digital Photography via Zoom

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


See the ASCCA October 2021 Newsletter online.

Inside this Issue:


Be Connected Digital Mentor Training Dates

Get Online Week 18 - 24 October

Park Study

Training Calendar October

Benefits of ASCCA Membership Insurance discount!

AUSOM Roadshow

BSOL Training Day

Photography Competition Closing

Cyber Week 25 - 29 October

Greetings to all.

It was pleasing to receive lots of positive feedback from our interim eNews published mid-month. Again, we have so much information to impart; this eNews is also jam-packed full of relevant items of interest.

Of course, the upcoming ASCCA Online Conference is top of the list, just a few short weeks away. Have you purchased your ticket yet?

We've heard that a few Clubs are experiencing some difficulties in re-establishing themselves ready to resume face to face lessons. There are a few options to provide support, so please reach out to us and see if we can help.

Warm regards,

Jennifer Willcox

Australian Seniors Computer Clubs Association
Main Contact: 0434 857 222
P: 08 9840 1153 | M: 0400 50 40 95
E: jenniferwillcox@ascca.org.au | ascca@ascca.org.au
W: www.ascca.org.au | www.swade.org.au
FB: www.facebook.com/ASCCAau

Tech News:

Ransomware gang arrested in Ukraine

See the Interpol article on 4 October 2021.

Two prolific ransomware operators suspected of carrying out a string of attacks, demanding ransoms of up to EUR 70 million, have been arrested in Ukraine.

The arrests were made on 28 September as a result of global law enforcement cooperation involving the French National Gendarmerie, the Ukrainian National Police and the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), INTERPOL and Europol.

The coordinated strike also resulted in:

Seven property searches
Seizure of USD 375,000 in cash
Seizure of two luxury vehicles worth EUR 217,000
Asset freezing of USD 1.3 million in cryptocurrencies

The organized crime group is suspected of having committed a string of targeted attacks against very large industrial groups in Europe and North America from April 2020 onwards. The criminals would deploy malware and steal sensitive data from these companies before encrypting their files.

They would then proceed to offer a decryption key in return for a ransom payment of several million euros, threatening to leak the stolen data on the Darknet if their demands were not met.

Close cooperation between the participating law enforcement authorities led to the identification in Ukraine of these two individuals.

In July, the INTERPOL High-Level Forum on Ransomware underlined that to prevent and disrupt ransomware effectively meant adopting the same international collaboration used to fight terrorism, human trafficking or mafia groups such as the 'Ndrangheta.

Read More »

Apple Patches Major iPhone Bug linked to Gov't Spying

See the Infopackets article by John Lister on October 25 2021, at 12:10 pm EDT.

Apple has released a patch for a potentially serious iPhone bug. It's worth double-checking the patch was installed automatically and forcing it to do so if it has not.

The fix comes in version 15.0.2 of iOS and patches an actively exploited zero-day bug. That means attackers not only knew about the security hole but were already using it before Apple could release a fix. In other words, Apple had a "zero days" head start in the battle between patching and hacking.

The bug involves memory corruption and means a correctly-targeted attack could allow malware to access parts of the memory that should be off-limits. That would allow the execution of arbitrary code with kernel privileges, a particularly dangerous combination.

Kernel Attack Extremely Powerful

Arbitrary code effectively means an attacker can issue any command they like. Meanwhile, the kernel is the part of the operating system that connects applications with the various hardware components, including the processor and memory.

For a computing device to work correctly, the kernel needs constant unrestricted access to everything. That means a successful attacker using this bug would effectively have complete control of the device. In particular, they could install almost any malware they wanted.

While Apple isn't revealing much about the bug (to avoid tipping off even more would-be attackers), the rumour mill has linked it to Pegasus. That's an application produced by an Israeli company called NSO Group that many have labelled malware. (Source: theregister.com)

Pegasus is marketed to governments worldwide and, depending on interpretation, used for cyber-surveillance of criminals or to spy on political opponents and human rights activists.

Manual Update Simple To Launch

Most iPhone users should have their device set to install updates automatically, including security patches. Given the severity of this security bug, it may be worth manually forcing an update if that hasn't happened yet.

This involves opening the Settings app, tapping on General and then tapping on Software Update on most devices. This will show which version of iOS is installed and whether an update is available. If the phone isn't yet on 15.0.2, there should be an option to start the update manually. (Source: apple.com)

Read More »

Interesting Member-provided Computer Links

Windows XP turns 20: Microsoft's rise and fall points to one thing don't fix what isn't broken.

The rise of the metaverse could put the entire internet into Facebook.

— Jeff Garland

Fun Facts:

How Do Drones Actually Fly?

See the How-To Geek article by SYDNEY BUTLER | @gendowasright | OCT 26 2021, 7:00 am EDT.


Multirotor drones are now commonplace and advanced enough that anyone can fly them, yet most people probably don't understand how they stay in the air. Understanding basic drone flight physics can make you into a better drone pilot. It's simple!

How Helicopters Fly

We'll start with something completely different: helicopters. It might seem like a strange detour, but knowing a bit about how helicopters fly will make understanding drone flight much more straightforward.

A typical helicopter has a main rotor and a tail rotor. Other designs do exist, but they all work to control the same forces. This is a fundamental explanation of how helicopters fly but appropriate to our goal of understanding drone flight.

The helicopter has a main rotor that generates thrust downwards, lifting the craft into the air. The problem is that as the rotor turns in one direction, it exerts a force on the helicopter body (thanks, Newton!). Therefore both the rotor and helicopter body would spin, just in opposite directions.

This is obviously not a great way to fly, which is why helicopters have tail rotors. This rotor puts out horizontal thrust to counteract the torque from the main rotor.

There are tailless helicopters with other anti-torque systems, such as the Russian Kamov Ka-52, which uses two main rotors spinning in opposite directions, known as a coaxial arrangement.

Russian Helicopter

You're probably also familiar with the US Army CH-47 Chinook, which has two massive counter-rotating main rotors that neutralize each other's torque while also providing enormous lift capacity.

What does this have to do with your quadcopter? Everything!

Multirotor Drones and the Torque Problem

If we look at the basic quadcopter's layout, you'll notice that the four rotors are arranged in an X pattern. Two props turn in a clockwise direction and the other two in a counter-clockwise direction. Specifically, the front props spin in opposite directions, and the same is true of the rear props. As such, props that are across from each other diagonally spin in the same direction.

The result of this arrangement is that if all the props are spinning at the same speed, the drone should stay perfectly still with its nose fixed in place.

Using Torque and Thrust to Manoeuver

If you don't want to keep the drone's nose fixed in one position, you can use this torque-cancelling principle to manoeuver. If you purposefully slowed down some motors and sped up others, the imbalance would cause the whole craft to turn.

Likewise, the drone's back would lift if you sped up the two rear motors, tilting the whole craft forward. This is true for a pair of rotors, so that you can tilt the drone in any cardinal direction.

There are problems with this approach! For example, if you slow a rotor down, you also reduce its thrust, and another rotor has to speed up to compensate for it. If not, the total thrust would decrease, and the drone would lose altitude. However, increasing the thrust of a rotor causes the drone to tilt more, which causes unwanted movement.

The only reason a quadcopter or other multirotor craft can fly is thanks to the complex real-time problem-solving performed by the hardware that controls it. In other words, when you tell the drone to move in a particular direction in 3D space, the onboard flight control systems work out precisely what speed each motor should spin the rotors to achieve it.

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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