YMUG Newsletter — 2020/02/23

YMUG Newsletter — for the 23rd of February, 2020.  Got coronavirus yet?

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



Because I mentioned on mactalk a couple of weeks ago that we had ‘lost’ our dog, Baxter, and a lot of people responded I thought I’d mention: we got a two-month old puppy, a border collie, we’ve named Bandit.  Already registered and seen by the local vet and already registered with the insurance company PetPlan and a pet chip registering company, he is pretty bouncy and very, very cute.  Any and all advice gratefully accepted: news@ymug.org

And now, on with the show!!



The app I use to download material from the BBC (and YouTube and just about every other site) is Downie and it was just updated to version 4.  With the exception of a stupid ‘black mode’ thing it’s faster and better than before.  I cannot recommend it highly enough.


It costs about £16 new (less to upgrade from a previously version) unless you’re a SetApp subscriber in which case it’s part of the subscription.  Nicely enough, when I got the upgrade notice they were quick to point out that I could continue to use version 3 if I wanted.  But I’m glad I upgraded.  You can try it for free for . . . I’m not sure.



You can have up to three alias email accounts associated with your Apple iCloud account which is a handy way to keep personal and business and shopping interests separate.  I just get a whole new email address.  I have a ton.  Too many probably.


Stop reading if you’ve heard this before: how to recover lost or deleted iCloud drive files or documents.


Here’s a good list of things you can do to improve your online security.


Two password manager apps I’ve not heard of . . . Bitwarden Vs. LastPass Review: which Is better?  Any of you tried them?  Would you like to write a quick review for the newsletter?  Please?  Pretty please?  Pretty please with sugar on top?


Something I learned this last week: you can add the date and time to screenshots.  But I can’t remember how I did it.  Sigh.  (a few hours later . . . ) I remembered!  I used the Onyx or Deeper app from the excellent Titanium software!  Anyway, for reasons you don’t need to know (but I will tell you if you ask, nicely) I take a lot of screenshots and organising them is a pain-in-the-petunias.  But not anymore!  🙂

Four private DNS services to use on iOS and macOS.  Why does the story say “four” but the link say “5”? 


You’ve read this before: How to factory reset a MacBook Pro, and when to do it.


MacUpdater can automatically track the latest updates of all applications installed on your Mac. Launch our MacUpdater to see at a glance which of your apps are out-of-date. And with a simple click, you can update any outdated app.  So they say anyway.  I have not tried it. But it sounds like a good idea, especially if you have a lot of non-App Store apps.


Comparing two note-taking apps: Notion Vs. Evernote review – which is better?  I’ve never really got ‘into’ trying different note taking apps but I’m a sucker for a good email client/app/program.


How to delete all your mail and/or all your activity at Google.



This week’s blast from the past! February 19, 1990: Adobe ships the first commercial version of its soon-to-be-iconic Photoshop photo editing software.



Larry Tesler, the Apple employee who invented cut, copy and paste, has died at age 74.




Despite pushback from Apple, the European Parliament in January voted overwhelmingly for new rules to establish a common charging standard for mobile device makers across the European Union. This article explores what form the EU laws might ultimately take and how they could affect Apple device users in Europe and elsewhere.


Here’s another one of those ‘how to make your battery last longer’ lists.  This one is pretty complete.


How to automatically dial an extension on iPhone.


Apple Maps vs Google Maps. 


You have misplaced your phone, and you are worried you may have lost it or that someone stole it. You have called your phone, and you cannot hear it. And your spouse seems to think you need to learn a lesson about keeping track of your things.  After checking your car and the car park, you start to worry, but then you remember you have both Life360 and Find My iPhone apps on your phone.  So, the question begs, which of them is the better? Is Life360 the app you prefer, or does the simplicity of Find My iPhone most appeal to you?


How much is your iPhone worth now?  Not that much probably.




Following beta testing, Microsoft released its new Office app for iPhone, bringing together Word, Excel, and PowerPoint in a single app.


You may have noticed an article I shared a week or more ago about someone who hand-built a mobile phone with a rotary dial.  Well, you can now buy a kit to build one yourself.  I am a bit tempted I must admit.


The new Galaxy Z Flip is one of the most expensive phones you can buy right now but it doesn’t come with an ad-free experience.  Less than a week after the phone launched, new owners discovered that Samsung put advertisements directly into the phone app. Anytime Galaxy Z Flip users go to make a call on the device they paid for they’re greeted with ads based on places nearby.


And here’s a review:


Our modern times: families are photographing death at home. These photos may feel jarring on Facebook, but the practice itself has a long history.




Apple releases watchOS 6.1.3 update with heart rhythm notification bug fix.


How about some earbuds that look like elf ears?  No?  Are you sure?  Maybe you should look anyway, just in case.




I haven’t watched it yet but I just noticed that there was a BBC Panorama episode (available on iPlayer) called Amazon: What They Know About Us.  I’m afraid I might have to watch it from behind the sofa.

Google users in the UK might feel another effect of the Brexit process, and it’s one they may not have expected. According to Reuters, the tech giant is planning to place British users’ accounts under US jurisdiction, which means they’re losing the protections of the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation. As the news organisation notes, the GDPR is known for having one of the world’s strictest set of rules for data privacy and gives authorities the power to impose aggressive fines.


Some 23 iOS file-conversion apps used by 3 million people fail to encrypt documents.


During the last quarter of 2019, ClearSky research team has uncovered a widespread Iranian offensive campaign which we call “Fox Kitten Campaign”; this campaign is being conducted in the last three years against dozens of companies and organisations in Israel and around the world.  Though the campaign, the attackers succeeded in gaining access and persistent foothold in the networks of numerous companies and organisations from the IT, Telecommunication, Oil and Gas, Aviation, Government, and Security sectors around the world.



February 23rd is the 54th day of the year and is also The Emperor’s Birthday, birthday of Naruhito, the current Emperor of Japan.

Happy Birthday to:  Samuel Pepys, English diarist and politician (b 1633, d 1703); George Frideric Handel, German-English organist and composer (b 1685, d 1759); W. E. BDu Bois, American sociologist, historian, and activist (b 1868, d 1963); Victor Fleming, American director, cinematographer, and producer (b 1889, d 1949); Paul Tibbets, American general and pilot, bonus points if you know what he’s famous for without looking him up (b 1915, d 2007); Majel Barrett, American actress and producer (b 1932, d 2008); Peter Fonda, American actor, director, producer, and screenwriter (b 1940, d 2019); Bernard Cornwell, English author and educator (b 1944); Johnny Winter, American singer-songwriter, guitarist, and producer (b 1944, d 2014); Howard Jones, English singer-songwriter (b 1955); Linda Nolan, Irish singer and actress (b 1959); Helena Suková, Czech-Monacan tennis player (b 1965); Melinda Messenger, English model and television host (b 1971); Kelly Macdonald, Scottish actress (b 1976).

Rest in peace these folks who died on the 23rd of February:  Franciscus Vieta, French mathematician (b 1540, d 1603); Joshua Reynolds, English painter and academic (b 1723, d 1792); John Keats, English poet (b 1795, d 1821); John Quincy Adams, American politician, 6th President of the United States (b 1767, d 1848); Carl Friedrich Gauss, German mathematician, astronomer, and physicist (b 1777, d 1855); Edward Elgar, English composer and academic (b 1857, d 1934); Stan Laurel, English actor and comedian (b 1890, d 1965); L. S. Lowry, English painter (b 1887, d 1976); James Herriot, English veterinarian and author (b 1916, d 1995); Ofra Haza, Israeli singer-songwriter and actress (b 1957, d 2000); Stanley Matthews, English footballer and manager (b 1915, d 2000); Howie Epstein, American bass player with Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, songwriter, and producer (b 1955, d 2003); Katherine Helmond, American actress (b 1929, d 2019).

Some notable historic events that took place on February 23rd:  traditional date for the publication of the Gutenberg Bible, the first Western book printed with movable type (1455); at York Castle, the outlaw Dick Turpin is identified by his former schoolteacher. Turpin had been using the name Richard Palmer (1739); The Siege of the Alamo (prelude to the Battle of the Alamo) begins in San Antonio, Texas (1836); President-elect Abraham Lincoln arrives secretly in Washington, D.C., after the thwarting of an alleged assassination plot in Baltimore, Maryland (1861); Émile Zola is imprisoned in France after writing J’Accuse…!, a letter accusing the French government of antisemitism and wrongfully imprisoning Captain Alfred Dreyfus (1898); Cuba leases Guantánamo Bay to the United States “in perpetuity” (1903); First demonstrations in Saint Petersburg, Russia, the beginning of the February Revolution (March 8 in the Gregorian calendar) (1917); German theoretical physicist Werner Heisenberg writes a letter to fellow physicist Wolfgang Pauli, in which he describes his uncertainty principle for the first time (1927); Japanese submarines fire artillery shells at the coastline near Santa Barbara, California (1942); during the Battle of Iwo Jima, a group of United States Marines and a U.S. Navy hospital corpsman reach the top of Mount Suribachi on the island and are photographed raising the American flag (1945); International Organization for Standardization is founded (1947); the first mass inoculation of children against polio with the Salk vaccine begins in Pittsburgh (1954); the Symbionese Liberation Army demands $4 million more to release kidnap victim Patty Hearst (1974).



A Border collie in Norway learned the names and categories of her many, many toys, just by playing a game with her owners.  I’ll let you know how we get on with our new Border collie.


The marmots and me: The schoolboy, 8, who has struck up a remarkable friendship with a colony of alpine animals.


The Bank of England has begun the massive task of destroying £40bn-worth of paper banknotes, which will be replaced by new polymer £20 notes.

Around two billion paper notes will be withdrawn and recycled to be used as a soil improver for agriculture.  I wonder if they’re hiring?


‘Leaning Tower of Dallas’ becomes the city’s star attraction.  The demolition of an office tower on Sunday left behind the building’s core, leaning slightly. The new landmark has caused a stir on social media.


Dozens of protesters in a Ukrainian town have attacked buses carrying evacuees from coronavirus-hit China.


A town centre property with river frontage and far-reaching views has been snapped for a cool £1 at auction. Although it might seem like a bargain, the drawback is there is no way to get into the 12 sq m first-floor space.


A French ski resort has used helicopters to deliver snow after mild weather dried out its slopes, threatening it with closure.  The Luchon-Superbagnères resort in the Pyrenees arranged for around 50 tonnes of snow to be dropped on its slopes.


Internet jokers have turned a circular hole in a wall outside a bank into a tourist attraction.  Since December 2018, wags have been posting glowing reviews on TripAdvisor for the hole at NatWest in Ilkeston.


An art critic was mocking a $20,000 work she didn’t like — then it shattered.


How would you feel if your expenses were declined because your meal contained meat? That’s the situation at property developers Igloo.  Regeneration, where all corporate entertaining, workshop catering and even staff expenses must now be vegetarian if staff wish to be reimbursed.


Build-a-Bear is launching a Doctor Who line! Behold:


When Dan Cain went to pick up his mail at the Twinsburg, Ohio, post office, he was told to drive around back to pick it up. “I was shocked, are you kidding me, who makes that kind of mistake?” Cain asked. His mail filled 79 plastic bins — 55,000 identical copies of the same statement from the College Avenue Student Loan Company, where he and his wife had taken out a student loan for their daughter, arrived in 55,000 individual envelopes. It took him 2 trips to get them all home, where they all sit in Cain’s garage. The company apologised and said a glitch in their new outgoing mail system caused the deluge. To top it off, the statements used the wrong interest rate, so the company has to issue another statement. (MS/WOIO Cleveland)



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.


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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.)