YMUG Newsletter — 2020/03/01

YMUG Newsletter — for the 30th of Feb . . . oh, wait . . . the 1st of March, 2020.

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



How to restore lost calendars from iCloud.  I hardly ever delete calendar items.  I guess they just keep eating up space on my account.  I should check on that.


How to take a screenshot on a MacBook Pro or any other Mac really.


A vulnerability in WiFi chips made by Cypress Semiconductor and Broadcom left billions of devices susceptible to an attack that allowed nearby attackers to decrypt sensitive data sent over the air.  The security flaw was detailed at the RSA security conference recently (via Ars Technica), and for Apple users, the issue was addressed in the iOS 13.2 and macOS 10.15.1 updates that were released back in late October.


Apple will soon let Mac Pro owners install their own chassis wheels.  Probably.


Speaking of which: Mac Pro’s $400 wheels have no locks to prevent rolling.


There dozens of note taking applications for iOS and Mac, including Apple’s Notes app that continues to get more powerful almost every year. The latest entry into this crowded field is called Tot, and it comes from The Iconfactory — which you may know best as the developers of popular apps such as Twitterrific and Linea Sketch.


Hemingway Vs. Grammarly Review – which is better?  Those are grammar apps by the way.




On macOS you can merge PDFs together using the built-in Preview tool. You can merge PDFs on iOS as well, using the built-in Files app.


How to add text to Photos on iPhone & iPad with Markup.  This is cool.


iPhone: How to send handwritten iMessages. I should try that sometime.  I’ll forget, I just know it.


Five of the best to-do apps for iOS according to MacRumors.


Still have an iPhone 6s? See how much faster the iPhone 11 Pro is in comparison.  I do still have an iPhone 6s and I’m not going to watch this because I know I’ll be envious.


Signal is the European Commission’s encrypted messaging app of choice.  I was going to try it but I don’t have anyone to message.


A proposed EU law would force Apple to make iPhones with user-removable batteries – which is to say, batteries the user could quickly and easily swap out when the phone ran out of juice.


In an interview with Vanity Fair today, Rian Johnson, who directed the popular movie “Knives Out,” shared an interesting tidbit about iPhone product placement deals for films. Apple, he says, allows iPhones to be used in movies, but bad guys aren’t allowed to have iPhones on camera.




How to clean AirPods and the AirPods charging case.  Something I will have to learn.  I love my AirPods.



The best GPS trackers for cats and dogs according to Engadget.




Firefox is rolling out a new privacy feature designed to stop ISPs from tracking the websites you visit. Known as DNS over HTTPS, it will plug a privacy hole when surfing the web.


Data shared with the BBC by digital rights group Access Now, shows that last year [internet] services were deliberately shut down more than 200 times in 33 separate countries. This includes, on one occasion, in the UK.


Facebook isn’t being completely truthful about the data available in its “Download Your Information” feature. Some information is left out.


Facebook sues analytics firm that stole user data through third-party apps.  Funny how when you act poorly someone else is encouraged to do the same.


One of the most vehement arguments against Clearview AI’s practice of scraping billions of photos from millions of public websites to build its facial recognition database was that the company’s data storage and security protocols were both untested and unregulated. On Wednesday, Clearview AI claimed that its facial recognition database was hacked, giving intruders access the the company’s full client list, which Buzzfeed News has acquired.


MI5 chief asks tech firms for ‘exceptional access’ to encrypted messages.  Sir Andrew Parker says cyberspace ‘inaccessible to authorities’ and spies need access to stop serious harm


Apple has announced that starting on September 1, Safari will reject any website that hosts an HTTPS certificate with more than 398 days of validity. Certificates issued before September 1 will not be subject to the change until the date of their next certificate renewal.


The United States Federal Trade Commission announced that it is sending out refund checks totalling over $1.7 million to people who fell victim to tech support scams.  I wonder if the Senate approves?


And this: The U.S. Federal Communications Commission on Friday proposed fines against the nation’s largest cellular carriers for selling access to real-time consumer geolocation data to third-party aggregators.


March 1st is the 61st day of this year and is also Saint David’s Day, National “Cursed Soldiers” Remembrance Day in Poland, National Pig Day in the US of A, Self-Injury Awareness Day and World Civil Defence Day. 

Happy Birthday to:  Frédéric Chopin, Polish pianist and composer (b 1810, d 1849); William Dean Howells, American novelist, playwright, and critic (b 1837, d 1920); Lytton Strachey, British writer and critic (b 1880, d 1932); Glenn Miller, American trombonist, composer, and bandleader (b 1904, d 1944); David Niven, English soldier and actor (b 1910, d 1983); Ralph Ellison, American novelist and literary critic (b 1914, d 1994); William Gaines, American publisher (b 1922, d 1992); Deke Slayton, American soldier, pilot, and astronaut (b 1924, d 1993); Harry Belafonte, American singer-songwriter and actor (b 1927); Joan Hackett, American actress (b 1934, d 1983); Robert Conrad, American actor, radio host and stuntman (b 1935, d 2020); Roger Daltrey, English singer-songwriter, producer, and actor (b 1944); Mike d’Abo, English singer (b 1944); Catherine Bach, American actress (b 1954); Ron Howard, American actor, director, and producer (b 1954); Nik Kershaw, English singer-songwriter, guitarist, and producer (b 1958); Paul Hollywood, English chef (b 1966); Justin Bieber, Canadian singer-songwriter (b 1994).

Rest in peace these folks who died on the 1st of March:  Jackie Coogan, American actor (b 1914, d 1984); Jack Wild, Actor (b 1952, d 2006); Bonnie Franklin, American actress, dancer, and singer (b 1944, d 2013).

Some notable historic events that took place on the 1st of March:  The city of Rio de Janeiro is founded (1565); Writs issued in February by Charles I of England mandate that every county in England (not just seaport towns) pay ship tax by this date (1628); Sarah Good, Sarah Osborne and Tituba are brought before local magistrates in Salem Village, Massachusetts, beginning what would become known as the Salem witch trials (1692); Sweden introduces its own Swedish calendar, in an attempt to gradually merge into the Gregorian calendar, reverts to the Julian calendar on this date in 1712, and introduces the Gregorian calendar on this date in 1753 (1700); The Articles of Confederation goes into effect in the United States (1781); Napoleon returns to France from his banishment on Elba (1815); Yellowstone National Park is established as the world’s first national park (1872); E. Remington and Sons in Ilion, New York begins production of the first practical typewriter (1873); Electrical engineer Nikola Tesla gives the first public demonstration of radio in St. Louis, Missouri (1893); Henri Becquerel discovers radioactive decay (1896); The Zimmermann Telegram is reprinted in newspapers across the United States after the U.S. government releases its unencrypted text (1917); The Australian cricket team captained by Warwick Armstrong becomes the first team to complete a whitewash of The Ashes, something that would not be repeated for 86 years (1921); The Hoover Dam is completed (1936); The Bank of England is nationalised (1946); Klaus Fuchs is convicted of spying for the Soviet Union by disclosing top secret atomic bomb data (1950); Soviet Premier Joseph Stalin suffers a stroke and collapses; he dies four days later (1953); The Castle Bravo, a 15-megaton hydrogen bomb, is detonated on Bikini Atoll in the Pacific Ocean, resulting in the worst radioactive contamination ever caused by the United States (1954); The International Air Transport Association finalizes a draft of the Radiotelephony spelling alphabet for the International Civil Aviation Organization (1956); United States President John F. Kennedy establishes the Peace Corps (1961); Venera 3 Soviet space probe crashes on Venus becoming the first spacecraft to land on another planet’s surface (1966);: Seven are indicted for their role in the Watergate break-in and charged with conspiracy to obstruct justice (1974); Provisional Irish Republican Army member Bobby Sands begins his hunger strike in HM Prison Maze (1981); Titanic became the first film to gross over $1 billion worldwide (1998); The International Criminal Court holds its inaugural session in The Hague (2003); English-language Wikipedia reaches its one millionth article, Jordanhill railway station (2006).



The Smithsonian Institution is releasing a whopping 2.8 million high-res, two- and three-dimensional images from its collections to a new open access online platform. The material comes from all 19 Smithsonian museums, nine research centers, libraries, archives and the National Zoo, and it’s available for free to anyone with a web browser.


When Google ditched its desktop Earth app in favor of a web-only experience, it said it was “almost ready” to work on Firefox and other browsers. That was nearly three years ago, but Google has finally delivered on that promise, as Google Earth now works not only on Firefox, but Microsoft Edge and Opera too, the company announced.


Popular mobile game Plague Inc. removed from App Stores in China.


AAPL down 4.75%, other tech giants too, as coronavirus nears pandemic status.  Apparently, Apple has taken the opportunity to buy back some of its own shares.  Sweet.  Then they will be able to sell them again.  That’s how to make money.



Jif and Giphy team up for limited-edition peanut butter to settle the GIF pronunciation debate.


Twitter verified a fake US congressional candidate created by a teenager.


Pope Francis wants you to give up being a jerk online for Lent.  You know who you are!  Yes, you!  Stop avoiding eye contact.


A BP refinery worker in Australia has successfully won back his job after being sacked for parodying the company in a well-known Hitler meme.

Scott Tracey used the popular meme, from the 2004 film Downfall, to portray scenes from company wage negotiations, posting it on a closed Facebook group.


20th Century Flicks is the oldest video rental store in the World (It’s been running since 1982!) Its small, close-knit crew has unwittingly become custodians of the largest collection of DVDs and VHS tapes in the UK (20,000 titles,) and faces a constant struggle to adapt and survive in the age of streaming and downloading.


My hero of the week: In 2015, the boss of a card payments company in Seattle introduced a $70,000 minimum salary for all of his 120 staff – and personally took a pay cut of $1m. Five years later he’s still on the minimum salary, and says the gamble has paid off.


More than 10 years ago, Grace Firth tucked into a snack from Greggs. Somehow, the paper bag ended up on the ground rather than in the bin. Now the 32-year-old student from Stockport has found herself in court, accused of littering.


Finland hosts the world’s first heavy metal (as in music) knitting championship.  Yes, there is a video.


If kinetic energy is converted to thermal energy how hard do you have to slap a chicken to cook it?  Inquiring minds want to know.


In Virginia, letting an F-bomb fly in public could get you slapped with a misdemeanour and up to a $250 fine. “Profane swearing” has been illegal in the commonwealth since 1792, when the fine was 83 cents. Just what bleepin’ words are banned? Well, the state code doesn’t say. But on Wednesday, legislators said to hell with the anti-swearing law: The Virginia Senate voted to repeal it, just weeks after the House did the same.


Valley Forge Elementary School in Tredyffrin Township, Pa., called in police and initiated a “threat assessment” after a student allegedly held up her fingers in the shape of a gun and told a teacher, “I shoot you.” The student was hardly any sort of threat, not just because she’s only 6 years old, but also because she has Down syndrome. School staff familiar with the girl said her actions were “isolated.” The “threat assessment team” found she presented no threat and had no actual intention to harm anyone. Still, police interviewed the parents anyway. “You don’t understand,” Maggie Gaines, the girl’s mother, told them. “This is insane.” The Tredyffrin/Easttown School District says that under their zero tolerance policy, school officials “had to” call police, even though state guidelines don’t require it. “This is not a process that’s going to catch the next school shooter,” commented Senior Policy Advocate Harold Jordan of the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania. But district officials stand by their policy. (RC/Philadelphia Inquirer)

Croydon, N.H., Police Chief Richard Lee was the only officer in his department; the town’s population is about 750. Last year there was a proposal to abolish the department, but residents voted against that. This year, as Lee sat in on the town’s Selectboard meeting, he was shocked when the three Board members voted to shut down the department to save money. After the vote concluded Selectboard Chairman Russell Edwards ordered Lee to turn over “all police items” including his badge, squad car keys, and town-owned uniforms “immediately,” so Lee stripped down to his T-shirt, briefs, boots, and a baseball cap and started the 7-mile walk home in the snowy 26-degree (-3C) night. He walked close to a mile before his wife picked him up. Lee was part-time, and only earned $17.85 an hour, with no benefits. “This was a well thought out decision,” Edwards claimed, saying the New Hampshire State Police will respond to any calls in town. (RC/Lebanon Valley News, WPTZ Plattsburgh)

“Mad” Mike Hughes, 61, a limousine driver from Apple Valley, Calif., didn’t believe Earth is a sphere. “Do I believe the Earth is shaped like a Frisbee? I believe it is,” he said. “Do I know for sure? No. That’s why I want to go up in space.” And a couple of years ago he built a rocket to launch himself. After several months of delays, he successfully launched himself over the Mojave Desert in a home-made steam-propelled rocket. He landed hard: “I’ll feel it in the morning. I won’t be able to get out of bed.” Still, Hughes brags, “My story really is incredible. It’s got a bunch of story lines: the garage-built thing. I’m an older guy. Plus the Flat Earth. The problem is, it brings out all the nuts also.” So, did he “prove” Earth is flat? Well, no: Hughes, who has previously said “I don’t believe in science,” only launched to about 1,875 feet in altitude, or 0.57 km, well short of “space,” which is generally considered to start at 100 km (62 miles) above sea level. He planned to improve his rocket and try, try again.  Last Saturday (22 February), “Mad” Mike took off on another flight, this one apparently being filmed by a TV crew for the upcoming TV series Homemade Astronauts, slated for Discovery’s Science Channel; Hughes was to be its “star.” As the $18,000 steam-powered vehicle shot into the sky, something fluttered away from the rocket: its parachute, which Hughes really needed. Once the rocket ran out of steam, it came right back to Earth, slamming into the desert floor near Barstow, California, at full speed. Total flight time: just under 20 seconds. Mike’s goal was to get to 5,000 ft (1,524m). It’s obvious he didn’t make it to that altitude, but it’s unclear how high he did get. After the first launch’s hard landing, he noted “At least I can go home and have dinner and see my cats tonight.” He wasn’t as lucky this time. He was 64.



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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