2021 Newsletter: 109/121 — PreviousNext — (Attach.)

Sydney Harbour

Hello and Welcome,

Meeting TODAY

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 are below.

Hi Everyone,

In cosmology, there is a theory that our universe is made of multiverses, multiple universes existing together.

Austrian theoretical physicist Erwin Schrödinger, in a lecture in 1952, said that his equations seemed to describe several different histories; these were "not alternatives, but all really happen simultaneously."

In (or on) the internet, we have the Metaverse, and Mark Zuckerberg appears to want to own it. He has renamed Facebook's parent company to Meta Platforms, Inc or Meta for short. The real question is, "What is the metaverse?" Basically, it's a virtual reality or augmented reality, and this month I thought we could explore the concept and see if we could use this idea.

I have also found some alternatives to PhotoShop — some we know and some new ones to me anyway. So we will have a look at those.

It's our last meeting for the year, and we should look at what we could do next year.

Here are the Zoom meeting details;

SPCTUG Web Design Zoom Meeting

Time: Nov 20, 2021 14:00 Canberra, Melbourne, Sydney

Join the Zoom Meeting


Meeting ID: 840 7384 1215

Passcode: webdesign

Hope to see you TODAY.

— Steve South

Meetings This Week

AGM and Main Meeting - Tuesday, 23 Nov - 5:30 pm (6:00 pm meeting start) - 8:00 pm

This will be a Zoom meeting covering the AGM and the following MAIN Meeting.

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

— Alex

Digital Photography - Friday, 26 Nov - 9:30 am (10:00 am meeting start) - noon

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

— John Lucke

Meeting Next Week

Penrith Group - Saturday, 4 Dec - 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 ‡

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
88 2021/12/04 — 14:00-17:00 — 04 Dec, Sat — Penrith Group, Penrith City Library Suspended

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

Tech News:

Google Faces $2.7 Billion Fine

See the Infopackets article by John Lister on November 18 2021, at 10:11 pm EST.

Google is set to pay a fine of more than $2.5 billion for unfairly favouring its own shopping comparison service in search results. But critics say the penalty is too small to have a serious effect on the company.

A European Union court has rejected an appeal by Google against a 2017 fine imposed by the European Commission for breaking antitrust rules.

The case involved the way the main Google Search service handled queries about products. As well as relevant product pages on retailer and manufacturer sites, the results list would often include relevant pages on price comparison services.

Google Shopping Unfairly Promoted

Regulators concluded that Google had deliberately set the results algorithm so that the listing for its own price comparison service, Google Shopping, would show up higher in the results than rival services. They said this was clear manipulation, and the placement wasn't justified by any of the usual measures Google used to determine how relevant a page was to a particular search. (Source: techcrunch.com)

This violated European competition rules, which, to put it in very simplified terms, say it's OK for Google to dominate the search market, and it's OK for Google to favour its own products and services in search results, but it's not OK to do both.

In rejecting Google's appeal, judges not only upheld the original decision but noted Google had made the problem worse by offering to make rival comparison services more prominent on results pages in a paid advertising slot.

Giant's Behaviour 'Unchanged'

The one spot of relief for Google is that the court says the violation only involves the market for price comparison services, rather than Google having been anti-competitive on the broader search engine market.

Although the fine stands at €2.42 billion (US $2.77 billion), one antitrust expert told The Register that the amount wasn't enough to make a serious dent in Google's profits and questioned whether it had changed its behaviour since the original ruling. (Source: theregister.com)

Google now has the option of taking the case to a final appeal at the European Union's top court. It hasn't yet publicly said whether it plans to do so.

Read More »

Fifty years since Intel's groundbreaking 4004 processor arrived - wow!

See the iTWire article by Alex Zaharov-Reutt | Tuesday 16 November 2021 11:52 am.

The Intel 4004 was "the first commercially available microprocessor," and while it is extremely primitive by today's standards, it "paved the way" for the modern microprocessor computing revolution and changed the world as we know it.

Launched in November 1971, Intel's 4004 was the world's first commercially available microprocessor. As Intel puts it, "enabled the convergence of the technology superpowers — ubiquitous computing, pervasive connectivity, cloud-to-edge infrastructure and artificial intelligence — and created a pace of innovation that is moving faster today than ever."

Intel Corporation Historian Elizabeth Jones has also written an excellent article titled "The Chip that Changed the World", which you should also read for great context and content.

Intel has published a great video with current CEO Pat Gelsinger talking with Intel's famous co-founder, Chairman Emeritus and creator of "Moore's Law", Gordon Moore.

The video is not on YouTube, so I can't embed it here, but you can watch the short video and a second video that discussed how semiconductor technology would continue to shape the world here.

As Intel reminds us, the 4004 "paved the path" for modern microprocessor computing, evolving into the brains that make nearly every modern technology possible, from the cloud to the edge.

Intel adds, "Microprocessors enable the convergence of the technology superpowers — ubiquitous computing, pervasive connectivity, cloud-to-edge infrastructure and artificial intelligence — and create a pace of innovation that is moving faster today than ever."

Pat Gelsinger, Intel CEO, said: "This year marks the 50th anniversary of the 4004 chip. Think of how much we've accomplished in the past half-century. This is a sacred moment for technology. This is what made computing really take off!

Intel explains the significance of the 4004, noting that as the first, it is "the pioneer microprocessor, and its success proved that it was possible to build complex integrated circuits and fit them on a chip the size of a fingernail.

"Its invention also established a new random logic design methodology, one that subsequent generations of microprocessors would be built upon, before evolving to create the chips found in today's modern devices."

Federico Faggin, former Intel engineer who designed and produced the Intel 4004 with Tedd Hoff and Stan Mazor, said: "[Looking back at] 1970, it was clear that microprocessors would change how we design systems, switching from using hardware to software instead. But the speed with which microprocessors developed over time and were adopted by the industry was really surprising."

Faggin left Fairchild Semiconductor to join Intel and then co-founded Zilog, which made the Z80 microprocessor. That was the processor in the first-ever computer I owned, the Exidy Sorcerer, so Faggin and his colleagues were true giants of industry that have truly helped shape the modern world as we know it!

So, what's next?

Well, while the 4004 delivered the modern computing era through the design and production of the first commercially available microprocessor for a desktop calculator, Intel reminds us its "latest 12th Gen Intel Core processors — which company leaders revealed at the Intel Innovation event in October — will usher in a new era of computing.

"The performance hybrid architecture of this new family represents an architectural shift made possible by close co-engineering of software and hardware and will deliver new levels of leadership performance for generations. And with research in fields like quantum computing, with the cryogenic Intel Horse Ridge II solution, and neuromorphic computing, with the Intel Loihi 2 chip (pronounced low-ee-hee)), Intel continues to innovate, explore new territories and push the limits of computing."

Want more on the 4004's history?

We're told that in 1969, "Nippon Calculating Machine Corp. approached Intel about designing a set of integrated circuits for its engineering prototype calculator, the Busicom 141-PF.

"Intel engineer Faggin and his team adapted the original plans for 12 custom chips and designed a set of four chips — including the 4004 CPU — that met the challenge. Ultimately, the 4004, at the size of a human fingernail, delivered the same computing power as the first electronic computer built in 1946, which filled an entire room."

Read More »

Fun Facts:

Do you enjoy eating Arnott's "JATZ cracked pepper" biscuits?

If so, you'll no doubt have noticed the ingredients listed in French, proudly declaring that the crackers are FABRIQUÉ EN AUSTRALIE (made in Australia).

I've only noticed them sold in Woolworths stores; maybe they have made a special deal with Arnott's getting them cheap if France has rejected them for some reason or other.

Apparently not, since they are also available in Coles stores.

That raises the obvious question, "Is this deceptive marketing?" Not every customer reads French, so they will not know if the crackers contain flour, vegetable oil, salt, poppy seeds, sugar, baking powder, pepper etc.

Or dangerous for allergy sufferers, traces of egg, milk and peanuts.

The eagle-eyed among you will also have noticed that the list starts again with FARINE DE BLÉ, repeating the first dozen or so ingredients.

Overall, it is a very confusing piece of printing.

Can any kind French-speakers please translate for our readers' information?


Ingredients in French

Here is the original online image from Coles showing the list.

Just incredible! — Ed.

Meeting Location & Disclaimer

Bob Backstrom
~ Newsletter Editor ~

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