YMUG Newsletter — 2020/03/15

YMUG Newsletter — for the Ides of March, 2020 CE

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



Five Mac Apps Worth Checkin . . no, you know what?  All the apps in the article are rubbish and generally pointless.  Never mind.

Firefox browser releases ‘Facebook Container’ for those who like it but don’t trust it


For years, online backup service Backblaze has been publishing its hard drive failure statistics, and the company has now released the numbers for 2019. With 124,658 spinning hard drives in operation in 2019, Backblaze’s data is the best you can find.




How to use Look Around on Maps for iPhone & iPad.


Okay, for those fans of ‘cloud’ storage and sync services: How to manage all of your cloud file services from your iPad.


How to unzip files on iPhone or iPad.


I subscribe to a lot of RSS feeds on my Mac.  But if I had a good iPad I would definitely check this app out: RSS reader ‘NetNewsWire’ Arrives on iOS


I think there are some really good tips here but the ads are so intrusive I can barely stand to go through the whole article.  Sad.


Apple shares ‘Hermitage’ shot on iPhone Video, previewing over 5 hours of continuous museum footage taken on a single battery charge.


“My kids spent £600 on their iPads without my knowledge.” 




How to record sound with AirPods.




Apple announced that it is closing all of its retail locations outside of Greater China until March 27 due to the continuing spread of the coronavirus, which means Apple Stores worldwide will be shuttered for the next two weeks.


Apple announced that its 31st Worldwide Developers Conference will be a digital-only event with no physical gathering due to the ongoing spread of the coronavirus around the world The online-only event will take place in June.  There have beens lots of tech conferences cancelled or delayed.


AAPL bleeds record $97B in valuation over weekend.


How to disinfect iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, and AirPods, during the coronavirus outbreak.


Apple today updated its support document on cleaning Apple products with new information that confirms it’s okay to to use a 70 percent isopropyl alcohol wipe or Clorox disinfecting wipes for the purpose of cleaning germs from your devices.


Maybe you’re working from home more often these days.  Maybe you need some software to help you have remote meetings with your colleagues.  Apple has posted a list of twelve ‘solutions’.  My wife says Microsoft Teams is brilliant.


How to use your Mac to help the fight against Coronavirus.




Microsoft has said it was part of a team that dismantled an international network of zombie bots. The network call Necurs infected over nine million computers and one of the world’s largest botnets.


Those concerns about police indiscriminately collecting Google location data have some grounding in the real world NBC News has revealed that police inadvertently made a suspect of an innocent cyclist, Gainesville, Florida resident Zachary McCoy, after using a geofence warrant (collecting all location data around the scene of a crime) to look for leads in a March 2019 burglary. McCoy had been using RunKeeper to track his biking, and had passed by the victim’s house three times in the space of an hour — enough to raise eyebrows among investigators looking for suspicious info.


Sensor Tower, an analytics platform that aggregates data on app downloads and usage for developers, has been secretly collecting data from millions of Android and iOS users who have installed popular VPN and ad-blocking apps, reports Buzzfeed News.


The once-popular app Whisper promises a place where you can share secrets anonymously. According to a Washington Post report, however, it left sensitive information that can be tied to users’ confessions exposed to the public for years. Apparently, Whisper kept a non-password-protected database that allowed anyone to freely browse its records.


Comcast just revealed 200,000 unlisted phone numbers.



March 15th is the 75th day of this leap year and is also World Consumer Rights Day, World Contact Day, World Peace Day AND it’s the Ides of March.  Et tu whoever.

Happy Birthday to:  Andrew Jackson, American general, judge, and politician, 7th President of the United States (b 1767, d 1845); John Snow, English physician and epidemiologist (b 1813, d 1858); William Mitchell Ramsay, Scottish archaeologist and scholar (b 1851, d 1939); Harold L. Ickes, American journalist and politician, 32nd United States Secretary of the Interior (b 1874, d 1952); Lightnin’ Hopkins, American blues singer-songwriter and guitarist (b 1912, d 1982); Arif Mardin, Turkish-American record producer (b 1932, d 2006); Judd Hirsch, American actor (b 1935); Jimmy Swaggart, American pastor and television host (b 1935); Frank Dobson, English politician, Secretary of State for Health (b 1940); Phil Lesh, bassist and founding member of the American band Grateful Dead (b 1940); Mike Love, American singer-songwriter and musician (b 1941); David Cronenberg, Canadian actor, director, and screenwriter (b 1943); Lynda La Plante, English actress, screenwriter, and author (b 1943); Sly Stone, American singer-songwriter, musician, and producer (b 1943); Ry Cooder, American singer-songwriter, guitarist, and producer (b 1947); Philip Green, English businessman (b 1952); Dee Snider, American singer-songwriter and actor (b 1955); Terence Trent D’Arby, American singer-songwriter (b 1962); Penny Lancaster, English model and photographer (b 1971); Eva Longoria, American actress and producer (b 1975).

Rest in peace these folks who died on the 15th of March:  Julius Caesar, Roman general and statesman (b 100 BC, d 44 BC); H. P. Lovecraft, American short story writer, editor, and novelist (b 1890, d 1937); Lester Young, American saxophonist and clarinet player (b 1909, d 1959); Arthur Compton, American physicist and academic, Nobel Prize laureate (b 1892, d 1962); Aristotle Onassis, Greek-Argentinian businessman (b 1906, d 1975); Rebecca West, English author and critic (b 1892, d 1983); Benjamin Spock, American paediatrician and author (b 1903, d 1998); Ann Sothern, American actress and singer (b 1909, d 2001); Thora Hird, English actress (b 1911, d 2003); Mikey Dread, Jamaican singer-songwriter and producer (b 1954, d 2008); David Brenner, American comedian, actor, and author (b 1936, d 2014); Clarissa Dickson Wright, English chef, author, and television personality (b 1947, d 2014).

Some notable historic events that took place on March 15th:  Marcus Junius Brutus the Younger and his fellow conspirators, Gaius Cassius Longinus, Decimus Junius Brutus, and several other Roman senators, march to the Capitol following the assassination of Julius Caesar, but there is no response to their appeals to the population, who have left the streets in fear. Caesar’s body remains in its place (44 BC); Christopher Columbus returns to Spain after his first trip to the Americas (1493); Charles II of England issues the Royal Declaration of Indulgence (1672); French physicist Augustin Fresnel is adjudged the winner of the Grand Prix of the Académie des Sciences for his “Memoir on the Diffraction of Light”, which verifies the Fresnel integrals, accounts for the limited extent to which light spreads into shadows, and thereby demolishes Newton’s initial objection to the wave theory of light (1819); France and Vietnam sign the Second Treaty of Saigon, further recognizing the full sovereignty of France over Cochinchina (1874); First ever official cricket test match is played: Australia vs England at the MCG Stadium, in Melbourne, Australia (1877); Tsar Nicholas II of Russia abdicates the Russian throne ending the 304-year Romanov dynasty (1917); The first Women’s Boat Race between the University of Oxford and the University of Cambridge takes place on The Isis in Oxford (1927); Germany occupies Czechoslovakia (1939); Mikhail Gorbachev is elected as the first President of the Soviet Union (1990); 1.4 million young people in 123 countries go on strike to protest climate change (2019).



UK is to levy additional tax on big tech companies beginning April 1st. The two percent ‘digital services tax’ is strongly opposed by the US.


Calling all forgetful Uber passengers, you’re not the only one who’s left their phone or wallet in the back seat — but there are a few rare riders who forgot a bubble machine, Swarovski crystal binoculars and a Ziploc bag full of quarters.


British man wins world’s best mullet at ‘Mulletfest’


Dyson’s Corrale is a $500 straightening iron with over-engineered plates.  I will definitely pass.


Send your booty to heaven with these unicorn toilet paper rolls.


I’ll take two: Schroedinger’s cat glow in the dark t-shirt.


I’ll have one of these as well: Schrödinger’s cat reversible science plush toy for adults.


Reagan National University was a real institution of higher education. We know this because it was accredited by the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools, the same organisation that accredited Corinthian Colleges and ITT Tech. But USA Today looked further and discovered that, as best it could tell, Reagan National was missing some things, such as students and professors. Even the person listed on RNU’s website as its president — “Harold Harris,” not to be confused with “Xuanhua Fan,” the person listed on its business license — lacked the online presence one might expect. RNU did have a campus, if you count two Sioux Falls, S.D., addresses where there were offices and signs that said “Reagan National University.” ACICS had, at least twice, ordered RNU to show why it should be allowed to keep its accreditation. “The campus-level [job] placement rate of 0% is materially below the Council Standard of 60%,” it said the first time; the second time it cited a range of concerns including the lack of necessary equipment in the computer-science program. Before the deadline to respond to that second demand, but after hanging up on USA Today, the university dropped its own accreditation. (AC/USA Today)

“Are you Miss Bryant?” a sheriff’s deputy asked Ruth Bryant at her Roxboro, N.C. home. “It all depends on what you want,” she replied as her friends looked on. The officer told her he was there to arrest her for indecent exposure, and handcuffed her …to her walker. It was all a setup: it was Bryant’s birthday, and she had a bucket list wish to be arrested and jailed before she died; she had just turned 100. She was taken in a squad car to be “booked” at the Person County Jail, and have her mug shot taken. “I’m in the jail-house now! I finally got here!” she squealed as she danced a little jig.But, she told a deputy after riding in his squad car, there’s someone they should arrest for real: “The people who make these low damn seats in all these cars,” she said “You ought to arrest every one of them.” She was returned to her assisted living center to have a laugh with her fellow inmates. (RC/Roxboro Courier-Times, WRAL Raleigh)

What if COVID-19 goes truly pandemic and kills a lot of people? Well, Britain’s National Association of Funeral Directors is ready. NAFD is in “dialogue with the government and local authorities to seek early guidance on steps funeral directors may need to take,” it told the media in a written statement, especially “in the event of a ban on public gatherings,” such as funerals. If that happens, “one option” would be virtual funerals online, “as many crematoria now have these facilities.” Meanwhile, “We could start describing it as a pandemic,” says the World Health Organization, “but at the moment we are saying it is clusters and outbreaks in some countries.” (RC/Sky)



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.)