YMUG Newsletter — 2020/02/16

YMUG Newsletter — for the 16th of February, 2020.  Got coronavirus yet?

A collection of news and views, rants and raves, and some goofy stories compiled by Jerad Zimmermann, Esq.


Lockdown launched last summer as the first open source firewall for iOS to block website and app trackers and it runs completely on-device. Now Lockdown has arrived for Mac as a free app.  If any of youse guys check this out let me know.


I was having a clear-out of old saved blog posts and I found this gem from a couple of years ago: 10 essential tips for using the macOS Finder more efficiently.  It’s a keeper.


Here’s another great tip from a while ago: How to make quick english-metric conversions using macOS Spotlight.


What do the F1, F2, F3, through F12 keys do on Mac keyboards?  I can’t always figure out the icons!!


Editing .pdf files with LibreOffice and Infix.


Working with Pins and Apple Maps.


Sending email with voice control.


Apple released a Catalyst-based Swift Playgrounds app for the Mac, which was built from the existing Swift Playgrounds app for the iPad.


What you need to know about SSD layer configurations.  If you don’t know what that is . . . maybe you don’t need to know?


Speaking of which: What’s the largest hard drive you can buy in these three categories: hard disk drives, solid state drives and flash storage.


StatusBuddy for macOS is a new app that makes it easy to quickly check the status of Apple’s various online services. If an Apple service is having problems, StatusBuddy makes it easy to quickly see the details of the issue.


Here’s another website building app: Blueprints Website Builder.


If you spend a lot of time browsing online, you might be wondering why your Chrome tabs keep refreshing, and whether there’s anything you can do to stop it. That annoying flickering out of the corner of your eye does drive some people mad. You might not know it, but Chrome has its own memory management function, known as “Tab Discarding and Reloading,” that helps to pause inactive tabs so they don’t use up too many resources.


How to change the default Google account.  How many Google accounts do I have?  Six?  Seven?  Something like that.


Hook is a macOS tool that connects all the parts of your work — or real — life together, whether they’re notes, emails, web pages, documents, or those never-ending to-do tasks.  There is a free trial and if you try it and figure out how it works let me know.  Tony and I had a go a couple of weeks ago and I don’t think we quite got it.


Popular email client Spark for iOS and Mac is out with an update today that brings a few new neat features including a Send Again feature that’s sure to save time and avatar support for Mac.


Download the new version of ‘Aerial,’ the best mac screensaver.  Trust me, it’s gorgeous.



How to unlock all iPhones.  While a lot of the information presented is geared towards American mobile providers there is some good stuff for us UKers.


How to enable low data mode on iPhone & iPad for wi-fi networks AND mobile data.



This week’s There’s An App For That: China has launched an app that allows people to check whether they have been at risk of catching the coronavirus.  The ‘close contact detector’ tells users if they have been near a person who has been confirmed or suspected of having the virus.


How to pick a hard drive for video editing on iPad.  What?  Really?  I guess.


How to unsubscribe from an app on your iPhone or iPad.


Speaking of which: Apple has added a new toggle to the top of the Subscriptions page on iPhone and iPad. By toggling the switch, users can choose not to receive email notifications every time a recurring In-App Purchase is charged.


With the release of iOS 11, Apple’s HEIC/HEIF file formats have given some users a bit of a headache. That’s not to say that there’s anything inherently wrong with this innovative format. After all, it boasts superior compression capabilities. But, it’s not as easy to read these files on every device. So, many users still need to convert their HEIC photos to regular JPEG, PNG, or other formats. The good news is that while this was difficult at first, it’s now become trivial. There are tons of HEIC converters you can appeal to, the majority of which are also free to use. Here are some top picks that won’t disappoint.


How to reverse image search with Google on iPhone; it’s not as easy as it should be.


Passengers on the Diamond Princess cruise ship, quarantined on board because of the coronavirus, are to be given iPhones for communication and information about the situation. Some 2,000 iPhones with a new medical consultation app are being provided by Softbank, and will be shared with one phone per cabin or crew quarters.


iPhone 11 Pro vs Samsung Galaxy S20 – $999 premium smartphones head-to-head



Hmm . . . not much to report this week.


A new report from Motherboard dives into a few iOS and Mac email apps/services that aren’t being very transparent about selling users’ personal data. Notably, one of them is even in Apple’s App Store ranked in the top 100 for productivity apps.


Political parties have left voter records exposed before, but seldom on this scale. Haaretz has learned that Likud, the party of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, uploaded Israel’s entire voter registry to the Elector voting management app, which had glaring security issues that effectively left the data wide open for days. You could even access the info through a web browser without tools or expertise. The collection included personal details (such as addresses and ID numbers) for nearly 6.5 million Israelis, including Netanyahu and other top politicians.


When London’s Metropolitan Police Department announced its decision to adopt the controversial and intrusive ClearView AI surveillance system at the end of January, a global cacophony of protest erupted. Concerns, fear and trepidation surrounding facial recognition technologies, especially those like Clearview which can ID people in real-time, have been simmering for decades, but the Met’s decision has finally caused public outrage to boil over.


The UK government wants to put Ofcom in charge of regulating social media. Digital secretary Nicky Morgan and home secretary Priti Patel said they were “minded” to appoint the watchdog due to its experience and “proven track record” overseeing the UK’s media and telecommunications industries.  This story was posted before the cabinet reshuffle so . . .


Apple’s Secure Enclave set a precedent in smartphone security that has so far been followed by many Android brands. A new research study found that Huawei, Samsung, Xiaomi, OnePlus, Vivo, LG, Oppo, and Sony all now have models with equivalent embedded hardware security features…


Puerto Rico’s government has lost more than $2.6 million after falling for an email phishing scam, according to a senior official. The finance director of the island’s Industrial Development Company, Rubén Rivera, said in a complaint filed to police Wednesday that the agency sent the money to a fraudulent account.


February 16th is the 47th day of the year and is also Day of the Shining Star (Kim Jong-il’s Birthday) in North Korea.

Happy Birthday to:  Ernst Haeckel, German biologist, physician, and philosopher (b 1834, d 1919); Hugo de Vries, Dutch botanist, geneticist, and academic (b 1848, d 1935); Eugénie Blanchard, French super-centenarian (b 1896, d 2010); Edgar Bergen, Swedish-American ventriloquist and actor (b 1903, d 1978); Vera-Ellen, German-American actress, singer, and dancer (b 1921, d 1981); John Schlesinger, English actor and director (b 1926, d 2003); Sonny Bono, American actor, singer, and politician (b 1935, d 1998); Iain Banks, Scottish author and playwright (b 1954, d 2013); Margaux Hemingway, American model and actress (b 1954, d 1996); LeVar Burton, German-born American actor, director, and producer (b 1957); Ice-T, American rapper and actor (b 1958); John McEnroe, German-American tennis player and sportscaster (b 1959); Andy Taylor, English singer-songwriter, guitarist, and producer (b 1961); Christopher Eccleston, English actor (b 1964); Cathy Freeman, Australian sprinter (b 1973).

Rest in peace these folks who died on the 16th of February:  Brownie McGhee, American singer-songwriter and guitarist (b 1915, d 1996); William Masters, American gynaecologist and sexologist (b 1915, d 2001); Doris Troy, American singer-songwriter (b 1937, d 2004); Tony Sheridan, English singer-songwriter and guitarist (b 1940, d 2013); Lesley Gore, American singer-songwriter (b 1946, d 2015); Boutros Boutros-Ghali, Egyptian politician and diplomat, 6th Secretary-General of the United Nations (b 1922, d 2016); Bruno Ganz, Swiss actor (b 1941, d 2019).

Some notable historic events that took place on February 16th:  Colombo in Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) falls to the British, completing their invasion of Ceylon (1796); Howard Carter unseals the burial chamber of Pharaoh Tutankhamun (1923); Fidel Castro becomes Premier of Cuba after dictator Fulgencio Batista was overthrown on January 1 (1959); the first computer bulletin board system is created, the CBBS in Chicago (1978); the Kyoto Protocol comes into force, following its ratification by Russia (2005); the last Mobile army surgical hospital (MASH) is decommissioned by the United States Army (2006).


The Mobile World Congress, a major smartphone trade show event held each year in Barcelona, Spain, has been canceled in 2020 due to the coronavirus outbreak.


What was that kerfuffle about the PM’s holiday and £15,000?


Over 21,000 fines have been issued to people for using their mobile phones while cycling since a new law was introduced in the Netherlands in July last year. The offence is punishable by a fine of €95 plus costs.


Engineer Justine Haupt built this novel cellphone that uses a rotary dial instead of a touchscreen to dial numbers.  It’s pretty cute actually.


IKEA’s sprawling blue and yellow stores are usually located on the outskirts of cities, so for most people a trip to the Swedish furniture kingdom is a big event in itself. To reward its customers for making the trek, the company has now launched an initiative called “Buy With Your Time,” where shoppers can purchase products with currency accumulated on the basis of their travel time to the store.


A follow-up to a previous post: A single man who made a plea for love by advertising himself on a billboard has bagged a Valentine’s date. Mark Rofe, 30, took drastic action and paid £425 for the roadside sign after becoming fed-up with online dating.


The world’s oldest living man at 112 years-old is still enjoying a full and fruitful life and says smiling is the secret to longevity.


Staff at a branch of Currys PC World called police during a row with a man trying to return a washing machine.  Carl Warburton, of Stoke-on-Trent, bought the £419 machine on 2 February, but it flooded his kitchen.


A British woman has claimed she was answering the call of nature at a London cafe when she stumbled upon members of a “satanic sex cult” eating pork pies and scotch eggs.


Customers at Lucky Candy in the Bronx get an entirely different experience, and it’s all thanks to cashier Ahmed Alwan. Two weeks ago, Alwan decided to start playing a game with shoppers — and it’s since gone viral.  The rules are simple: If you can solve a math equation, you get five seconds to grab anything you want off store shelves and have it for free.  Why is this not in York?


There are ugly handbags… and then one step below, there’s this rubber chicken purse.  I’ve seen worse.


These are worse: KFC makes pretty good fried chicken. Crocs are all about styleless comfort. But what do you get when the two companies enter a unholy partnership? These absolutly horrendous KFC themed CROCS shoes, featuring a fried chicken print and a striped base, complete with a pair of Jibbitz charms that are made to resemble and smell like fried chicken.


Florida Highway Patrol troopers pulled over a speeding vehicle in the panhandle. Both occupants were arrested after troopers noticed the car had some unusual cargo: meth, the “date rape” drug GHB, cocaine, MDMA (or “ecstasy”), a large volume of cash, and more. The Santa Rosa County Sheriff’s Office assisted, and provided a clue as to what helped troopers figure out there was illegal cargo. “Note to self,” the department posted on Facebook. “Do not traffic your illegal narcotics in bags labeled ‘Bag Full Of Drugs’.” (RC/WTSP Tampa)

A man entered a Lafayette, Ind., convenience store, pulled a knife, and demanded money from the two clerks. The clerks simply closed the security enclosure they were in, and the man left without any money. Police were able to quickly identify Shawn Yoakum, 42, and arrested him on charges of attempted robbery and resisting law enforcement. The reason for the quick capture: Yoakum was readily identified by one of the clerks — his brother. (MS/Lafayette Journal & Courier)

The owner of a gas station-convenience mart combo in Hamden, Conn., logged in to the store’s security cameras to check on his overnight-shift employee: it was his first night on the job. The owner rushed over when he found the store completely unattended. The employee was gone, he says, along with $17,183 worth of lottery tickets, cigarettes, and cash. But he couldn’t even tell police the man’s name, since as the thief fled, he took one more thing: his folder from the personnel file with all of his identifying information. (RC/WTIC Hartford)


Chief Bottle Washer and television reviewer — Tony Crockford: support@ymug.org

Head of Department of Redundancy Department — Chris Brady: ymug@csjbrady.org.uk

with help from: Anzir Boodoo and Tim Pinder.

Items for the newsletter . . . reviews, rants, raves, revelations and reflections to: Jerad Zimmermann, your participatory social mores editor: news@ymug.org

Thanks to Ian Thomas, Martin Pickering and Brendan Rowland who send me items of interest. And jokes.

Join mactalk – YMUG’s official email list discussion group.

You’ll get approximately 5 or 6 emails a day and can have ‘instant’ discussions on Mac related issues.  And other stuff, we’re flexible. By the way, if you’d rather have fewer emails there is a ‘digest’ version which concatenates all the daily emails into one.

To subscribe (FREE) to the group, send a blank email to: mactalk-join@ymug.org and then confirm membership when you receive an automated reply from the group,

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YMUG Newsletter — 2020/02/02 IT’S A PALINDROME!

YMUG Newsletter — for the 2nd of February, 2020. How’s your Brexit going?

A collection of news and views, rants and raves, and some goofy stories compiled by Jerad Zimmermann, Esq.


I’m making a big change in my podcasting habits. Well . . . sort of.

As some of you will remember I have been a huge podcast fan for the last decade. I regularly listen to a couple of hours of podcasts every day; many of them from the BBC. This means that, in the past, every time Apple changed iTunes I would approach it with trepidation and hesitation. Over the years I had to modify my procedures for staying up to date with my favourite podcasts and export them to my iPhone.

Then Apple killed off iTunes and replaced it with three apps: Music, Podcasts, and . . . TV? I’ve never used the last one. That happened in October and I’ve had a harder time than usual dealing with the change AND dealing with bugs and quirks of the new system. And I’ve not much liked it to be honest.

So, I’m going to try something different, partially. I’m going to keep track of all my BBC podcasts via the BBC Sounds app and only use Apple Podcasts for the non-BBC fare. I know there are a number of you who do not like Sounds but I think it’s actually quite good. We can agree to disagree on that. Anyway, I think it’s a better platform for what I want to do than the Apple Podcasts app.

This is a very personal view and reaction and I’m not looking to make any converts. I’m welcome to hear any views or opinions y’all might have: news@ymug.org And I’ll let you know how it goes for me.

And now, on with the show!!


MacOS Catalina 10.15.3 update released & security updates for Mojave & High Sierra. I’ve installed it . . . I think . . . just a minute . . . . . . huh, no I haven’t. I’ll do it later today, promise. (I did install the update and it seems fine, no problems so far.)


Love this: 25 must-know macOS Tips (mostly keyboard shortcuts) for beginner, intermediate and advanced Mac users. I use some of these every day and I’m going to make an effort to use more.


Have you ever used an app where you received random pop-ups out of nowhere asking you to rate their apps and write a review? Kind of annoying, right? Here’s how you can turn that off.

How to Disable In-App Ratings & Reviews on iPhone & iPad

Ask iFixit: What should I upgrade first on my old MacBook Pro? The first suggestion: install an SSD.


Apple completely changed the way that we sync data to our iPhones and iPads with the arrival of macOS 10.15 Catalina and later versions of MacOS. The removal of iTunes is something that has been a long time coming, but now that it’s here a ton of people are left wondering – just how do I sync music from Mac to my iPhone or iPad now? I know some of you have had troubles with this; I’m not saying this will answer all your questions, just thought I’d pass it along.

How to Sync Music to iPhone with MacOS Catalina via Finder

I’ve discovered a new email app, it might not be to your liking but Tony and I love to try out new ones. There’s a free and a paid-for version.


Do any of you use Fantastical? I keep hearing about it.



iOS 13 got an update this last week; it’s now at 13.3.1. Sounds like mostly bug fixes.


After some users complained about the iPhone 11 and iPhone 11 Pro tracking location data even when the location services are turned off, Apple has added a new option in iOS 13.3.1 that disables the new Ultra Wideband U1 chip.

How to turn off Ultra Wideband U1 chip to prevent background location tracking on iPhone 11 and 11 Pro

Oh, before I forget: Apple has released iOS 12.4.5 for a select group of older model iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch models that are unable to run the latest iOS 13.3.1 and iPadOS 13.3.1 releases.

iOS 12.4.5 Update Released for Older iPhone & iPad Models

The more sensors and gadgets that we wear the more our phones and watches know about us, and if you use some of the various Health apps and fitness trackers you’ll find personal health data can be gathered as well. You might be surprised just how much data your iPhone and Apple Watch can collect and gather, and while it can be really useful to have access to that Health data yourself, you might not want some other apps to access all of it, or some of it. Thankfully Apple knows that and provides a simple way to make sure only the apps you give permission to can see Health information about you.

How to See & Change What Apps Can Access Health Data on iPhone

Are you missing iTunes as your iDevice management tool? (DO NOT get me started. Just don’t.) I’ve learned to get along with Finder, Podcasts and BBC Sounds for my needs but there are alternatives. Apple Configurator is one produced by Apple itself. iMazing is another. Then there’s DearMob, one of the most stupidly named apps ever.


Siri: How to add location-based Reminders on iPhone, Apple Watch, more. The article says you can create a reminder that triggers when you leave your house. That could be very handy actually. Maybe I should learn more about reminders. Someday. I know, I’ll create a reminder to do that. I’ll do that later.

Siri: How to add location-based Reminders on iPhone, Apple Watch, more

How to switch off iCloud backups, and why you might not want to.

How to switch off iCloud backups, and why you might not want to

Hands-on with Filmic’s DoubleTake iPhone app that lets you record video from two cameras at the same time. Now, if I only had an iPhone 11 to test it with . . . are you feeling sorry for me yet?


Despite criticism from Apple, EU lawmakers on Thursday voted overwhelmingly in favor for new rules to establish a common charger for all mobile device makers across Europe. There is still some confusion over whether the new rules would apply to both ends of a charging cable. I think no one knows. Figures.


Steven Sinofsky has an unusual perspective on the iPad. On the the 10th anniversary of Apple unveiling this tablet computer, the former president of the Windows Division at Microsoft looks back at his reaction to this breakthrough computer.

A decade ago, iPad blindsided Windows team


Apple Releases watchOS 6.1.2 With Bug Fixes. Be still my beating heart.


Apple Releases tvOS 13.3.1 for Fourth and Fifth-Generation Apple TV. Whoopee.


Apple Releases New 13.3.1 Software for HomePod. Will the excitement never end?


Did you know you can force the Apple Watch to display the wrong time? You can. In fact, you can make it add up to 59 minutes to the actual time, and show that bogus data on the main display. It’s either the most useless setting on the Apple Watch or the most useful, depending on your point of view. Here’s how to make your Apple Watch tell the wrong time.

How to make your Apple Watch tell the wrong time

Review: Samsung’s portable SSD T7 Touch is compact, super speedy and keeps your files safe with a fingerprint sensor.


Google is not messing around when it comes to its bug bounty program. Last year it paid out $6.5 million to researchers that reported vulnerabilities — almost double the $3.4 million paid out in 2018. The largest single award was for $201,337, which was given to Guang Gong of Alpha Labs, who discovered a major exploit on the Pixel 3.



A joint investigation between Motherboard and PCMag revealed that antivirus maker Avast collected Web browsing data from users of its antivirus products and sold it through its Jumpshot subsidiary. Jumpshot boasted of having access to “Every search. Every click. Every buy. On Every site.” and claimed its clients included Google, Intuit, McKinsey, Microsoft, and others.


The United Nations was the victim of a massive, likely state-sponsored hacker attack this past summer, according to reports from The New Humanitarian and Associated Press. To make the matters worse, the organisation didn’t disclose the details and severity of the hack until those publications obtained an internal document on the situation.


The UK government plans to introduce a new law designed to improve the security standards of household products connected to the Internet of Things (IoT). The legislation stipulates that all consumer smart devices sold in the UK — such as smart cameras and TVs, wearable health trackers and connected appliances — adhere to three specific requirements.


An investigation by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) of the Ring (made by Amazon) doorbell app for Android found it to be packed with third-party trackers sending out a plethora of customers’ personally identifiable information (PII). Four main analytics and marketing companies were discovered to be receiving information such as the names, private IP addresses, mobile network carriers, persistent identifiers, and sensor data on the devices of paying customers.


After a delay caused by a court case last year, you’ll now be able to clear your Facebook history – or, more precisely, force Facebook to forget everything it knows about your off-Facebook activity thanks to connections with apps and websites.

PSA: You can now clear your Facebook history, disconnecting apps and websites

A college has caused controversy after using a smartphone app to track student attendance in classes. The app has so far been used to check up on athletes, but its use is now being expanded to include all new students.

Controversy as college uses smartphone app to track student attendance

February 2nd is the . . . give me a minute . . . 33rd day of the year and is also Groundhog Day in the US and Canada.

Happy Birthday to: Hamnet Shakespeare, William Shakespeare’s only son (baptised 1485, d 1596); Nell Gwyn, English actress, mistress of King Charles II of England (b 1650, d 1687); Solomon R. Guggenheim, American businessman and philanthropist, founded the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum (b 1861, d 1949); James Joyce, Irish novelist, short story writer, and poet (b 1882, d 1941); Ayn Rand, Russian-born American novelist and philosopher (b 1905, d 1982); James Dickey, American poet and novelist (b 1923, d 1997); Valéry Giscard d’Estaing, French academic and politician, 20th President of France (b 1926); Les Dawson, English comedian and author (b 1931, d 1993); Tom Smothers, American comedian, actor, and activist (b 1937); David Jason, English actor, director, and producer (b 1940); Graham Nash, English-American singer-songwriter and guitarist (b 1942); Andrew Davis, English organist and conductor (b 1944); Farrah Fawcett, American actress and producer (b 1947, d 2009); Brent Spiner, American actor (b 1949); Libby Purves, British journalist and author (b 1950); Christie Brinkley, American actress, model, and businesswoman (b 1954); Eva Cassidy, American singer and guitarist (b 1963, d 1996).

On 10 June 1993, Les Dawson went to a hospital in Whalley Range, Manchester, for a medical check-up. While waiting for the results with his wife, he suffered a major heart attack and died. Now that’s irony.

Rest in peace these folks who died on the 2nd of February: Owen Tudor, Welsh founder of the Tudor dynasty (d 1461); Dmitri Mendeleev, Russian chemist and academic (b 1834, d 1907); Boris Karloff, English actor (b 1887, d 1969); Bertrand Russell, English mathematician and philosopher, Nobel Prize laureate (b 1872, d 1970); Sid Vicious, English singer and bass player (b 1957, d 1979); Alistair MacLean, Scottish novelist and screenwriter (b 1922, d 1987); Fred Perry, English-Australian tennis player (b 1909, d 1995); the lovely Donald Pleasence, English-French actor (b 1919, d 1995); Gene Kelly, American actor, singer, dancer, and director (b 1912, d 1996); Barry Morse, Canadian actor, director, and screenwriter (b 1918, d 2008); Dorothy Gilman, American author (b 1923, d 2012); Philip Seymour Hoffman, American actor, director, and producer (b 1967, d 2014).

Some notable historic events that took place on February 2nd: The Battle of Lincoln, at which Stephen, King of England is defeated and captured by the allies of Empress Matilda (1141); The Battle of Mortimer’s Cross is fought in Herefordshire, England (1461); Battle of Inverlochy (1645); New Amsterdam (later renamed The City of New York) is incorporated (1653); Alexander Selkirk is rescued after being shipwrecked on a desert island, inspiring Daniel Defoe’s adventure book Robinson Crusoe (1709); In Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania the first Groundhog Day is observed (1887); Funeral of Queen Victoria (1901); Grand Central Terminal is opened in New York City (1913); Ulysses by James Joyce is published (1922); Dog sleds reach Nome, Alaska with diphtheria serum, inspiring the Iditarod race (1925); Nine experienced ski hikers in the northern Ural Mountains in the Soviet Union die under mysterious circumstances, the Dyatlov Pass Incident (1959); Idi Amin replaces President Milton Obote as leader of Uganda (1971); The last Soviet armoured column leaves Kabul (1989); F. W. de Klerk announces the unbanning of the African National Congress and promises to release Nelson Mandela (1990); Roger Federer becomes the No. 1 ranked men’s singles player, a position he will hold for a record 237 weeks (2004).

The Dyatlov Pass Incident is one of those really weird mysteries that no one can figure out. It’s pretty interesting. Look it up on Wikipedia.


It may sound dramatic, but antibiotic resistance is one of the biggest threats to global health. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), it’s urgent that we change the way we prescribe and use antibiotics. One approach might be to use bandages that sense and treat bacterial infections, even when the pathogen shows resistance. In a paper published by ACS Central Science, researchers from the Chinese Academy of Science explain how they’ve developed a way to do just that.


A history of ‘pettifogging’ for the pettifoggers among you. You know who you are. Or maybe you don’t . . .


The Tate has defended its decision to advertise for a “head of coffee”, on wages of almost £40,000 a year. Union leaders had said the post highlights “the pay discrepancy” between museum professionals and others within the arts sector. The average annual salary for professional art curators in London is believed to be around £37,300.


A man has been found guilty of trying to steal a copy of Magna Carta from Salisbury Cathedral. Mark Royden, 47, from Kent, used a hammer to try to smash through the protective case around the 805-year-old document but failed to take it. Jurors at Salisbury Crown Court also found him guilty of criminal damage. Royden had told police he believed the document, which helped establish legal rights for citizens in this country, was fake.


Recycling centre workers spent two hours hunting through rubbish to find old gravy tins containing a pensioner’s £20,000 life savings. The cash was accidentally dumped at Dalmoak Recycling Centre in Dunbartonshire by the woman’s family, who were clearing out her home.


On Monday, a Twitter account for a sheriff’s office in Colorado tweeted a helpful alert about a fallen boulder that had completely blocked the east-bound lane on Colorado’s Highway 145. But the description of said boulder is what took the Internet by storm. “Large boulder the size of a small boulder is completely blocking east-bound lane Highway 145 mm78 at Silverpick Rd,” the tweet read. “Please use caution and watch for emergency vehicles in the area.”


Several thousand Aviva customers have received an apology after the insurer mistakenly called them all Michael. The company, which has millions of customers, blamed a “temporary technical error” for the incorrect emails.


Whelming is a new dating term to describe a very irritating behaviour.


Florida’s dwindling population of burrowing owls is having trouble finding homes. So, one island town is letting the birds stay in residents’ yards, rent-free. Those humans can then pocket an easy $250 for being generous landlords.


Sauntore Thomas, 44, of Detroit, Mich., had three checks he wanted to deposit, and get some cash, so he went to the bank where he has an account: a TCF Bank branch in Livonia. Thomas says the bank demanded to know where the money came from, refused to cash the checks, or even deposit any of them into his account — and instead called the police and launched a fraud investigation. “They discriminated against me because I’m black,” Thomas said. “None of this would have happened if I were white.” Four officers showed up and found no cause to arrest Thomas, but the bank still refused to accept the checks, claiming they displayed “VOID” when viewed by a “scanner.” Thomas, a veteran of the U.S. Air Force, went to a Chase bank, opened an account there, and successfully deposited the checks without difficulty: they found no “VOID” marks. And where was the money from? Settlement payments from a federal lawsuit …for racial discrimination. His lawyer in that case immediately filed a fresh lawsuit against TCF. (RC/Detroit Free Press)

The Salt Lake Tribune recapped their top stories of 2019 “That Will Make You Say, ‘Oh, Utah’.” One featured U.S. Senator Mike Lee — the Utah Republican who’s not Mitt Romney. In a floor speech, Lee used several visual aids to punctuate his points. “This is of course a picture of former president Ronald Reagan, naturally firing a machine gun while riding on the back of a dinosaur,” he announced, also pointing out “the rocket launcher strapped to President Reagan’s back and then the stirring, unmistakable patriotism of the velociraptor holding up a tattered American flag.” Perhaps anticipating that few would get his point, he continued, “Critics might quibble with this depiction of the climactic battle of the Cold War, because, while awesome, in real life there was no climactic battle. There was no battle with or without velociraptors.” The newspaper pointed out that the illustration was created with tax dollars. “If this is the best he can offer,” the paper editorialised, “then maybe he should quit.” (RC/Salt Lake Tribune)


Chief Bottle Washer and television reviewer — Tony Crockford: support@ymug.org

Head of Department of Redundancy Department — Chris Brady: ymug@csjbrady.org.uk

with help from: Anzir Boodoo and Tim Pinder.

Items for the newsletter . . . reviews, rants, raves, revelations and reflections to: Jerad Zimmermann, your participatory social mores editor: news@ymug.org

Thanks to Ian Thomas, Martin Pickering and Brendan Rowland who send me items of interest. And jokes.

Join mactalk – YMUG’s official email list discussion group.

You’ll get approximately 5 or 6 emails a day and can have ‘instant’ discussions on Mac related issues.  And other stuff, we’re flexible. By the way, if you’d rather have fewer emails there is a ‘digest’ version which concatenates all the daily emails into one.

To subscribe (FREE) to the group, send a blank email to: mactalk-join@ymug.org and then confirm membership when you receive an automated reply from the group,

If you have any difficulty, please contact Tony Crockford, he’s very nice, smart too.  And I happen to know he has excellent taste in music. –  support@ymug.org

mactalk posting guidelines written by the lovely Jo can be found at: https://ymug.org/category/articles


I’ve put the list of discounts up on the intertubes: The Take Control books are always available to MUG members for 30% off by the way.

(The page below is password protected which I can provide upon request. And don’t give the link to non-YMUG members or some of the publishers will get ever so cross about it.)

Software Discounts