2021 Newsletter: 105/115 — PreviousNext — (Attach.)

Sydney Harbour

Hello and Welcome,

Committee News

Because of the Survey results, which show that Members will prefer to wait until 2022 before resuming our regular meetings, the Committee has arranged to cancel all of our face to face meetings at the SMSA for the remainder of this year.

We, therefore, will now hold our AGM on Tuesday 23 November 2021 as a virtual meeting chaired by Alex Zaharov-Reutt.

SPC&TUG Meeting Host is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.

Topic: SPC&TUG AGM and November Main Meeting

Time: Tuesday, Nov 23, 2021 6:00 pm Canberra, Melbourne, Sydney

Join the Zoom Meeting


Meeting ID: 823 6561 3472

Passcode: SPCTUG

— Ron Ferguson,

Survey Results

Hi Everyone,

Here are the results of the survey as of 11 pm 3-11-21

Nine said Yes to November, and 12 said No, with a January or February return being evenly distributed between the 12.

— Steve South

Meeting TODAY

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 This 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.

— Tim Kelly

Meetings Next Week

Tuesday Forum - Tuesday, 16 Nov - 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. ]

Web Design - Saturday, 20 Nov - 1:30 pm (2:00 pm meeting start) - 4:00 pm

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

— Steve South

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.

Tech News:

Facebook Isn't Facebook Anymore

See the ReviewGeek article by ANDREW HEINZMAN | @andrew_andrew__ | OCT 28 2021, at 6:19 pm EDT.

Facebook becomes Meta

Some people will say that this isn't a time to focus on the future, Mark Zuckerberg said during the opening to Facebook's 2021 Connect Livestream. He was referencing the real-world, present-day controversies facing his company. But after uttering this sentence, The Zuck slipped into a world of delusion. He spent the next hour touring through a VR fantasy land, fighting to drive home a single point — Facebook isn't Facebook anymore.

I mean that both literally and figuratively. While the Facebook website will retain its name, the big company known as Facebook is now called Meta. This new name refers to the "Metaverse", a poorly-defined concept of the future where Facebook-made VR and AR technologies drive real-world commerce, social interaction, work, and education.

This simple name change will not erase Facebook's mistakes, as Zuckerberg calls them, nor will it shield the company from criticism or embarrassing congressional hearings. People will continue to call Meta by its original name, just as they say Google when referring to its respective parent company, Alphabet.

I know that some people will say that this isn't a time to focus on the future, and I want to acknowledge that there are important issues to work on in the present — there always will be. So for many people, I'm not sure that there will ever be a good time to focus on the future. But I also know that there are a lot of you who feel the same way that I do.

But that's where the symbolic identity change comes into play. Facebook spent its hour-long Livestream making promises about the future, affecting the way we see the company today. Once the Metaverse is in full swing, Facebook says, we'll play AR basketball games with strangers from around the world. We'll spend our workday at a deserted island using cool VR goggles, and of course, we'll buy NFT band merch for our Metaverse avatars.

To be clear, the Metaverse "future" shown during today's keynote is delusional. It's a mess of half-baked product pitches and impossible nonsense. But when you watch a bunch of pre-rendered avatars playing out these concepts at a mile a minute, you forget that Facebook is Facebook. This stuff feels infinitely far from the Facebook social media empire, promoting divisive content and actively disregarding children's mental health. It's quite the utopia.

Facebook's keynote was a fever dream from start to finish, but there was a whimper of clarity before its conclusion. That's right; Facebook announced its powerful Oculus Cambria headset. This was a moment where Zuckerberg could tie everything together, bring his Metaverse fantasies back to solid ground, and proudly accept Facebook's place in the world. But like the present-day mistakes that Zuckerberg briefly mentioned, the Oculus headset was glossed over in favour of something that may be impossible — a harmonious Facebook-powered world of tomorrow.

Read More »

Apple Reveals Why the Mac Doesn't Have a Touchscreen

See the How-To Geek article by DAVE LECLAIR | @davegleclair | OCT 29 2021, 3:06 pm EDT.

With the iPhone and iPad, you could argue that Apple is responsible for the current popularity of touchscreens. It seems odd that the company wouldn't want to bring its touchscreen technology to Macs, but it turns out Apple has a perfectly logical reason to keep Mac computers touch-free.

In a new interview with The Wall Street Journal (transcribed by 9To5Mac), John Ternus, Apple's senior vice president of hardware engineering, said, "We make the world's best touch computer on an iPad. It's optimized for that. And the Mac is optimized for indirect input. We haven't felt a reason to change that."

The company says that if you want an Apple device with a touchscreen, they have one ready to go in the iPad.

With that said, there does seem to be a market for computers with touchscreens, as both Windows and Chromebook devices are available with touchscreens, and they seem pretty popular.

I owned an HP Spectre x360 laptop with a touchscreen, and I could count on one hand the number of times I actually put my fingers on the screen. With that in mind, I can't say I disagree with Ternus on this one. Touchscreens are fantastic, but they don't seem necessary on laptops and desktops when they already have an input method that works.

Read More »

You Might Start Seeing Ads at The End of Zoom Meetings

See the How-To Geek article by DAVE LECLAIR | @davegleclair | NOV 2 2021, 10:49 am EDT.

Zoom is currently testing a new program that'll show ads at the end of free meetings, the company announced in a blog post. This will upset some free Zoom users, but it's not as bad as it sounds.

"With this in mind, today we are excited to roll out a pilot advertising program. We expect this will enable us to support investment and continue providing free Basic users with access to our robust platform," Zoom's Chief Marketing Officer Janine Pelosi said.

Pelosi broke down what this program will look like for users. "For this initial program, ads will be rolled out only on the browser page users see once they end their meeting. Only free Basic users in certain countries will see these ads if they join meetings that are hosted by other free Basic users."

It sounds like the ads aren't too intrusive since they're shown as a banner in a browser window when a meeting is over. They won't interrupt your session or make you wait to start a discussion, so it seems like Zoom is rolling the ad pilot program out in the least intrusive way possible, at least for now. If the program doesn't do well, it's possible that the company could modify the ad layouts.

Pelosi rounded out the blog post by saying, "We are incredibly proud to provide a service that helps so many people around the world stay connected. This change ensures that our free Basic users can continue connecting with friends, family, and colleagues with the same robust platform we have always offered."

Read More »

Fun Facts:

Doubling the Cube: They Said it Couldn't be Done

With straightedge and compass, they're right. It can't be done because to do so, you'd have to construct the cube root of 2.

Then the new cube would be Cuberoot(2)3 times the first cube. In other words, the volume would be doubled.

Using a straightedge and compass can only produce linear or, at best, quadratic values (like the square root of 2, for example).

But, there is a geometrical construction that cracks the problem.

The difficult part is performing the construction.

Double the Cube

As you can see by the diagram, all you need to construct are the two parabolas y = x2 and x = .5 * y2.

To find the points of intersection, substitute y = x2 into the second equation.

That gives you x = .5 * (x2)2 or x = .5 * x4.

After a little juggling, we get 2x - x4 = 0, or x(2 - x3) = 0.

This gives either x = 0 (the parabolas obviously intersect at the origin) or x = Cuberoot(2) at point A.

In the left-hand column of the above diagram, we show that the x coordinate of A, cubed, is 1.99999»99999»99999 (1 + 15 nines, which gives a good approximation of 2).

Now, to construct the Parabolas

Several methods exist to do this, including the Rectangle Method and the Eccentricity Method.

Construct a Parabola

For a historical discussion of this interesting problem, see the Wikipedia article.

— Ed.

COVID-19 Rules as per November 3, 2021

Weddings in NSW may have up to:

One person per 4 square metres of space for indoor areas
One person per 2 square metres of space for outdoor areas

It's easy to figure the 4 square metres of space (just stay 2 metres apart).

Unfortunately, for the 2 square metres of space, you need to be sqrt(2) metres apart.

Two square metre area

Good luck with that one.

— Ed.

Meeting Location & Disclaimer

Bob Backstrom
~ Newsletter Editor ~

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