YMUG Newsletter — 2020/03/29

YMUG Newsletter — for the 29th of March, 2020 ACV (after Corona virus)

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



Apple today released macOS Catalina 10.15.4, the fourth update to the macOS Catalina operating system that was released in October. macOS Catalina 10.15.4 comes a couple of months after the release of macOS Catalina 10.15.3.  There are also security updates for some older versions of macOS so check and see if there’s one for you.




macOS Catalina 10.15.4 adds iCloud Drive folder sharing, time-synced lyrics, and more.




Apple has shared a new support document that indicates kernel extensions — which it calls “legacy system extensions” — will not be compatible with a future version of macOS because they “aren’t as secure or reliable as modern alternatives.”  I got a few warnings when I updated to the latest macOS this week.


Safari in new versions of iOS and macOS includes full third-party cookie blocking.


Apple offering 90-day free trials for Final Cut Pro X and Logic Pro X.


Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) has warned that certain SSD drives could fail catastrophically if buyers don’t take action soon. Due to a firmware bug, the products in question will be bricked exactly 40,000 hours (four years, 206 days and 16 hours) after the SSD has entered service. “After the SSD failure occurs, neither the SSD nor the data can be recovered,” the company warned in a customer service bulletin.


Plugable has launched a brand new USB-C ethernet adapter, allowing users to upgrade their desktops and laptops with faster wired connection speeds up to 2.5 gigabits per second.


How to record video calls on Mac including FaceTime calls.


How to do a Group FaceTime call on your Apple devices.


Apple is giving developers the option to distribute their apps as universal purchases starting today. This means that customers only need to pay for an app once, and have it on all platforms.


Spike sounds like an interesting combination of an email app and a message app.  I’m going to give it a try.  But not right now, something keeps going wrong.  Someone remind me later.  Thanks.


People should avoid using the microwave at the same time as their wi-fi, media regulator Ofcom has said, as part of advice to help improve internet speeds.  Is that correct?  I’ve never heard that before!  Microwaves should be shielded so the microwaves don’t get out!




Apple releases iOS and iPadOS 13.4 with new Mail toolbar, iCloud folder sharing, trackpad support for iPad and more.  There are also some security updates for older versions of iOS.




The latest iOS lets you use a bluetooth mouse or trackpad; here’s some guidance.


iOS 13.4: How to share iCloud Drive folders from iPhone and iPad.


Compared: Apple’s 2020 iPad Pro versus 2019 iPad Air.


The new iPad Pro is a great tablet and an OK computer.


How to add photos to a new Photos album on iPhone & iPad with iOS 13.


2020 iPad Pro reviews land on iOS 13.4 release day, praising new cursor support in iPadOS.


Apple is aware of Personal Hotspot problems some users are facing after updating to iOS 13, according to a report published last week.


Dell Mobile Connect app update allows screen mirroring of iPhones on Windows PCs.


The best podcast apps for the iPhone according to TechJunkie.


How to transfer photos from Windows PC to iPhone or iPad using iTunes which still exists in Windows world.




Apple releases new 13.4 software for HomePod


Apple releases tvOS 13.4 for fourth and fifth-generation Apple TV models.


Apple releases watchOS 6.2 with App Store support for in-app purchases, ECG functionality in Chile, Turkey and New Zealand.


The UK and other European countries are boosting the contactless payment limit, to allow more purchases to be made without the need to physically touch payment terminals, a planned change that has been brought forward.


Imagine earbuds that act as real-time translators for over 30 languages: that’s what you get with the Freesay TWS Simultaneous Translation Earphones.  It would be fun to try them.


The Disney+ streaming service is today launching in the United Kingdom, Ireland, Germany, Spain, Italy, Switzerland and Austria. You can download the app now for iPhone, iPad and Apple TV. Note that Disney+ requires Apple TV 4K or Apple TV Hd The older third-generation Apple TV (which lacks an App Store) is not supported You can subscribe to Disney+ for £5.99 per month or £59.99 per year.


Cloud storage company Backblaze recently announced a milestone: It now stores one exabyte of data in its servers some of which is mine!  Honestly, I would highly recommend their service; it’s not free but it works and reduces my worries a lot.




I work in the kitchen of my local primary school and this last week we kept serving hot meals to some of the kids of ‘essential workers’; most days that was about four children with about the same number of pack-up meals.  The government (?) decided to stop serving hot meals to reduce unnecessary contacts so I’m off work for the foreseeable future.  But I should get my 80% once that scheme kicks in.  Same with my son whose job at the Designer Outlet outside of York was finally called off.  I figure what with having to wash less clothes and not using as much petrol we’ll have about the same income.  Also my wife is working from home so there’s even less petrol being used  As long as I can keep scrounging wine we should be okay!!  🙂

More governments are relying on phone location tracking in a bid to track and contain the spread of COVID-19. Eight European carriers, including Deutsche Telekom (T-Mobile), Orange and Vodafone, have agreed to share phone location data with the European Commission to help measure the coronavirus’ reach. That immediately raises privacy issues, but an official talking to Reuters stressed that the EC would protect users.


U.K. iPhone and iPad users who open the App Store this morning are being met with a COVID-19 public service announcement from the British government, signalling an expansion of Apple’s efforts to prominently display official coronavirus alerts on its devices.


All iPhone production in India has been suspended as the country’s prime minister announced a strict 21-day lockdown to help slow the spread of the coronavirus.


Amazon stops taking orders for some non-essentials in France and Italy, it wants to keep vital shipments going during the COVID-19 pandemic.


AND Amazon is offering free access to kid-friendly Prime Video content.


The Verizon mobile network in the US is giving all customers 15GB of extra data during coronavirus outbreak.  Good for them!


Nomad is best known for its iPhone cases, cables, and chargers, but is now diverting resources into the production of medical masks to help with the fight against the coronavirus. It is doing this on a nonprofit basis.


Following Saturday and Tuesdays’ announcements of Apple donating more than nine million N95 ventilator masks to help combat the coronavirus pandemic, the obvious question arises, why did Apple have so many masks? It now appears the answer was a simple one…A state mandate, instituted last year, to protect employees following the recent California wildfires.


Internet Archive offers 1.4 million copyrighted books for free online.


The developers of the game Plague Inc. will donate $250,000 to fight the real-life plague, COVID-19, currently gripping the globe.


Also: Plague Inc. Gaining New Game Mode Letting Players Save the World From a Pandemic.


This site will help you estimate how long your loo roll hoard will last.


The US Department of Justice is keeping busy during the coronavirus crisis: the agency has filed its first—but unfortunately, almost certainly not last—suit to take down a fraudulent scheme allegedly trying to profit off Americans’ fears about the virus.


Also in the US: A nationwide shortage of two drugs touted as possible treatments for the coronavirus is being driven in part by doctors inappropriately prescribing the medicines for family, friends, and themselves, according to pharmacists and state regulators.


You may have heard that Sir Patrick Stewart is reading a Shakespeare sonnet a day BUT he’s posting them on Twitter which many of us avoid like COVID-19.  Here’s a linked story anyway.


Michelle Obama shares her family’s quarantine routine: Online college, conference calls and Netflix.


North Carolina sheriffs find 18,000 pounds  (that’s weight not value) of toilet paper and other products in stolen truck.


Apple has lifted purchase limits previously imposed on iPhone, new iPad Pro, and new MacBook Air purchases made outside of China.  So now you can get a new iPad Pro for you and one for me too!




Google Play, the company’s official repository for Android apps, has once again been caught hosting fraudulent and potentially malicious apps, with the discovery of more than 56 apps—many of them for children—that were installed on almost 1.7 million devices.




March 29th is the 89th day of this leap year and is also National Vietnam War Veterans’ Day in the US.

Happy Birthday to:  John Tyler, American lawyer and politician, 10th President of the United States (b 1790, d 1862); Edward Smith-Stanley, 14th Earl of Derby, English politician, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom (b 1799, d 1869); 10th Dalai Lama (b 1816, d 1837); Cy Young, American baseball player and manager (b 1867, d 1955); Howard Lindsay, American producer, playwright, librettist, director and actor (b 1889, d 1968); Moon Mullican, American country and western singer-songwriter and pianist (b 1909, d 1967); Eugene McCarthy, American poet and politician (b 1916, d 2005); Pearl Bailey, American actress and singer (b 1918, d 1990); Richard Lewontin, American biologist, geneticist, and academic (b 1929); Norman Tebbit, English journalist and politician, Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster (b 1931, gosh, I didn’t realise he was that old); Judith Guest, American author and screenwriter (b 1936); Terence Hill, Italian actor, director, and producer, star of the Trinity Westerns (b 1939); Eric Idle, English actor and comedian AND John Major, English banker and politician, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom (b 1943); Speedy Keen, English singer-songwriter, keyboard player, and producer (b 1945, d 2002); Bud Cort, American actor, director, and screenwriter (b 1948); Brendan Gleeson, Irish actor AND Marina Sirtis, British-American actress (b 1955); Christopher Lambert, American-born French actor (b 1957); Amy Sedaris, American actress and comedian (b 1961); Jill Goodacre, American model and actress AND Elle Macpherson, Australian model and actress (b 1964); Lucy Lawless, New Zealand actress (b 1968); Priti Patel, British Indian politician, Secretary of State for the Home Department (b 1972); Jennifer Capriati, American tennis player (b 1976).

Rest in peace these folks who died on the 29th of March:  Gottfried van Swieten, Dutch-Austrian librarian and diplomat (b 1733, d 1803); Georges Seurat, French painter (b 1859, d 1891); Robert Falcon Scott, English lieutenant and explorer (b 1868, d 1912); J. Arthur Rank, English businessman, founded Rank Organisation (b 1888, d 1972); Mantovani, Italian-English conductor and composer (b 1905, d 1980); Carl Orff, German composer and educator (b 1895, d 1982); Paul Henreid, American actor (b 1908, d 1992); Helge Ingstad, Norwegian lawyer, academic, and explorer (b 1899, d 2001); Patty Duke, American actress (b 1946, d 2016).

Some notable historic events that took place on March 29th:  Paris is sacked by Viking raiders, probably under Ragnar Lodbrok, who collects a huge ransom in exchange for leaving (845 AD); Battle of Towton: Edward of York defeats Queen Margaret to become King Edward IV of England, bringing a temporary stop to the Wars of the Roses (1461); King Gustav IV Adolf of Sweden abdicates after a coup d’état. At the Diet of Porvoo, Finland’s four Estates pledge allegiance to Alexander I of Russia, commencing the secession of the Grand Duchy of Finland from Sweden, ah so that’s how Finland got to be part of Russia for a while (1809); The United Kingdom annexes the Punjab (1849); Sepoy Mangal Pandey of the 34th Regiment, Bengal Native Infantry mutinies against the East India Company’s rule in India and inspires the protracted Indian Rebellion of 1857, also known as the Sepoy Mutiny (1857); Queen Victoria gives Royal Assent to the British North America Act which establishes Canada on July 1 (1867); Royal Albert Hall is opened by Queen Victoria (1871); John Pemberton brews the first batch of Coca-Cola in a backyard in Atlanta (1886); Last day of V-1 flying bomb attacks on England (1945); Ethel and Julius Rosenberg are convicted of conspiracy to commit espionage (1951); My Lai Massacre: Lieutenant William Calley is convicted of premeditated murder and sentenced to life in prison (1971); The last United States combat soldiers leave South Vietnam (1973); Operation Barrel Roll, a covert American bombing campaign in Laos to stop communist infiltration of South Vietnam, ends (1973); Terracotta Army was discovered in Shaanxi province, China (1974); Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia, and Slovenia join NATO as full members (2004); The first same-sex marriages in England and Wales are performed (2014).

March 28, 1996: In a dire message to Wall Street, Apple warns that it will report a $700 million after-tax loss for its most recent quarter.




The Museum of the Bible in Washington, DC, opened to great fanfare in November 2017. Among its most prized acquisitions featured at the opening were 16 purported fragments of the famous Dead Sea Scrolls. But in a blow to the fledgling museum, an independent scientific analysis has now revealed that all 16 of those fragments are modern forgeries.  Oops.


Many people still prefer to read physical books over digital versions, even with the advent of devices like the iPad, for various reasons. Even in the digital world, there are different platforms such as Apple Books and Kindle, which can make it difficult to manage an entire book collection. That’s where Book Track comes in with a tool that allows users to organize their entire library in one place.


Who better to discuss the challenge of working from home while raising kids than the parents who became an Internet sensation when their two children adorably invaded a live BBC TV interview?


President Trump’s attempt to overturn a ruling that prevents him from blocking Twitter critics has been shot down — at least for now.


Since Towel Day will soon be upon us (May 25th,) celebrate your love of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and all things Douglas Adams with this gorgeous “42 Don’t Panic” large beach towel!  Towel day?  When was that started?


“A couple came up to the register with two carts,” said an unidentified woman witnessing an altercation at a Kroger grocery store in Louisville, Ky. — she was recording the scene with her cell phone. A couple was trying to buy some supplies, but the clerk told them there was a limit of three cases, and they were trying to buy 23 cases …of Mountain Dew. No, he was further informed, he would not be allowed to buy three and come back through eight more times. The man started yelling, telling the clerk he was “surprised you have a job.” (RC/CNN)

With North America shutting down from the pandemic, one company is doing its part to make sure Canadians are properly stocked up on an essential product: boxed mac and cheese. Kraft Heinz has seen a 35 percent increase in demand, so it geared up the Kraft Dinner plant in Montreal, Que., to fill it. Instead of working 5 days a week to produce about 3 million boxes, the plant is now operating 24/7 to push out over 4 million boxes a week. They’re prepared for the virus infiltrating the plant, too. If workers get sick, other employees will step in: other line workers first, then mechanics, then managers. “Everyone just feels very, very proud to be feeding 37 million Canadians,” plant manager Danielle Nguyen said “Those 960 employees show up to work every day. To me, they are true heroes.” (MS/CTV)



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.)