YMUG Newsletter — 2020/04/05

YMUG Newsletter — for the 5th of April, 2020 ACV (after Corona virus)

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



Some of you might have listened to the podcast Thirteen Minutes to the Moon which was produced by the BBC last year in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the first manned landing on the Moon.  It was fascinating and even gripping at moments.

Well, there is now a season two . . . which isn’t about landing on the moon at all.  But I think it’s much more exciting and interesting.  It’s about the near disastrous Apollo 13 flight.  I knew about the mission of course and really loved the film with Tom Hanks.  But the podcast is really deepening my knowledge about what happened and how the flight control team and the astronauts themselves dealt with the problems.  Even how and why the spacecraft was damaged which was news to me.

So a big thumbs up from me for Thirteen Minutes to the Moon, season two.



Here’s another review of the new Macbook Air:


For me the latest (and greatest?) Macbook Air and iPad Pro have made me wonder if I really need a beefy and powerful computer?  If I was going to ‘downsize’ then what to pick?


Something that might be of interest: how to screen share and remote control iPhone, iPad, Mac to help colleagues, friends, and family.


Apple today updated Pages, Numbers, and Keynote, its iWork apps designed for the Mac, to version 10.0 with a new set of features. The updates add support for iCloud Folder Sharing for collaborative files with macOS 10.15.4 installed, plus there are options to edit shared documents offline.


Apple Configurator 2 has been updated to version 2.12 with several improvements, including support for restoring firmware on the 2019 Mac Pro.


Have I already mentioned this? Plugable 2.5 Gigabit USB Ethernet Adapter offers easy way to upgrade to faster wired connection speeds.


“There are a number of software tools available that will let you sharpen images. You can sharpen images with desktop softwares like Photoshop, GIMP, Paint,  a mobile app, or an online tool. The results largely depend on the tool you use and how blurry your image is.”  I’d be interested in any comments from the photographers in YMUG regarding the advice in this article.


For those of you discussing Zoom in mactalk this week: Video conferencing app Zoom has removed controversial code that shared user data to Facebook — even when those users didn’t have a Facebook account. Zoom insists the data collected did not include personal information, but rather anonymous information about a user’s device. It has apologised for the “oversight” and made changes to the Facebook login process to prevent it.


But . . . Zoom does not use end-to-end encryption.  Is that a big thing?  It depends I suppose.  Oh, by the way, there were two security holes in the Mac version which the company has now mended.



Microsoft wants you to think about its Office 365 subscription service in a whole new light. So on April 21st, the company is renaming the service to “Microsoft 365,” as it adds more AI and cloud-powered tools to make you more productive.  I am a subscriber and, I have to say, it’s good value for money.


Microsoft Edge is becoming the browser you didn’t know you needed, collections, vertical tabs, and immersive reader are particularly compelling.




How to use iCloud Keychain on iPhone & iPad  If you’re not already using Keychain or some other password manager I can highly recommend it!


Apple updates iMovie and iWork Apps for iOS with trackpad and mouse support.


How to use an ethernet connection with iPad over USB-C or Lightning.


Apple has been improving its Notes app each year, and the ability to scan documents within the app in iOS is better than ever.  Try it, it works pretty well.


iCloud Folder Sharing was first announced as a feature of iOS 13. Apple then pulled the feature back in order to work out some bugs. iOS 13.4 brought the feature back, so here’s how to use it across iOS, iPadOS, and macOS.


How to record a FaceTime call.


A video from iFixit showing a teardown of the new iPad Pro and an article by Ars Technica. 



Let’s face it, most smartphones are filthy! Studies show that the average smartphone is seven times dirtier than your toilet. YUCK! Especially in this time of concern about spreading viruses, don’t you want to know that your phone is clean? We have the UV Sanitizer — which kills 99.9% of germs in 15 minutes or less.  Yes, this does remind me of parts of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.


Don’t try this at home: Skeptical about how water-resistant modern iPhones are? Try telling that to the woman who discovered her iPhone in the Thames in London two months after she dropped Still in working order.


Planet Computers is continuing to build very unique physical keyboard smartphones with the launch of its latest flagship, the crowdfunded Astro Slide. It’s a phone with surprisingly robust specs, but the key trick is that it can be used either as a standard 6.53-inch touchscreen smartphone or as a PDA, thanks to the “RockUp” slide hinge mechanism.  I’ve got to admit, I kind of like it!!




One of the most surprising effects of having my wife working from home and my son not working and doing his York College coursework in his room is my almost complete lack of personal space.  I’m a pretty chill person but it’s starting to wear on me.  One good thing about having a border collie puppy is being able to go out for long walks with him.  I’m cheating a bit, I go out more than once a day, but I am getting upwards of five miles of walking which is very good for me and gives me some time not listening to other people moaning.

I found this really interesting for historical reasons: For the past two weeks, since the lockdown restrictions began, BBC news presenter Sophie Raworth has been running to work at lunchtime to present the BBC News at Six and Ten, taking pictures as she passes some well-known landmarks. Here she describes what it is like to commute through the now deserted streets of the capital.


Britain’s big telecoms providers have agreed to lift the data caps on all fixed-line broadband services to help people isolated at home following the coronavirus epidemic, reports Reuters. The companies, which include BT, Virgin Media, Sky, O2, Vodafone, Three, and TalkTalk, committed to support and protect vulnerable customers during the pandemic following talks with the government and telecoms regulator Ofcom.


Apple added a special section in Apple Podcasts called COVID-19: Essential Listening. It features podcasts to keep you informed of the latest news and updates surrounding the coronavirus. You can find it by opening the Podcasts app and tapping the Browse tab at the bottom.


The US government is allegedly attempting to track the coronavirus pandemic by taking advantage of geolocation data generated by online advertising shown on iPhones and other smartphones, intending to learn how the virus is spreading throughout the country.


A new University of California at San Francisco initiative will give you a way to help advance our understanding of the coronavirus pandemic, even if you’re not a scientist or a medical professional. The COVID-19 Citizen Science project welcomes contributions from anyone over 18, so long as they have a phone and can download its app.


Do masks help prevent the spread of COVID-19?


Before they publicly acknowledged the severity of the novel coronavirus outbreak, the Chinese government sent instructions to two Chinese real estate development companies in Australia. The order: buy up all of the medical “personal protective equipment” they can and immediately ship them to China. Greenland Group bragged in their newsletter about shipping over 3 million masks, 700,000 protective gowns, and 500,000 pairs of gloves. Risland Australia bragged on LinkedIn that a “chartered plane with 90 tons of medical supplies, including 100,000 most needed protective coveralls and 900,000 pairs of medical gloves, has successfully departed from Sydney and arrived in Wuhan.” Greenland said it also sourced bulk supplies of thermometers, antibacterial wipes, and Panadol (acetaminophen), and also loaded up on PPEs in Canada, Turkey, and other countries — all of which now have a critical shortage. China analyst Richard McGregor says it’s not surprising the companies would “publicize their patriotism,” because Chinese “real estate companies are particularly exposed to government whims, as all land is owned by the state.” (MS/Sydney Morning Herald)

With the majority of people who still have a job working from home, Walmart reports a big upsurge in tops for employees wanting to look good during video meetings. Pants and skirts? Not so much. “So, people who are concerned, obviously, from the waist up,” observed Walmart’s executive vice president of corporate affairs, Dan Bartlett. Other retailers are noting a similar trend, and Suitsupply, which provides fine suits for men, quickly jumped on the bandwagon: it posted a photo on Instagram of a man dressed for success …but only from the waist up. Below: just underwear. (RC/CBS)

With salons closed due to physical distancing guidelines, many men have resorted to cutting their hair at home. And instead of opting for a short back and sides, male celebrities have decided to just shave all their hair off.


Mobile phone mast fires are being investigated amid conspiracy theories claiming a link between 5G and coronavirus.  There have been fires at masts in Birmingham, Liverpool and Melling in Merseyside.


Driver stopped on M6 lockdown trip with wife in boot.




With many cities, states, and countries asking people to remain at home, Google and Facebook location data is being used to help determine how many people are complying with the coronavirus lockdown…



Hotel chain Marriott International has today announced that it has been hit by a second data breach exposing the personal details of “up to approximately 5.2 million guests”.


A federal court in Washington, DC, has ruled that violating a website’s terms of service isn’t a crime under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, America’s primary anti-hacking law. The lawsuit was initiated by a group of academics and journalists with the support of the American Civil Liberties Union.


The Guardian says it has evidence that Saudi Arabia is exploiting a decades-old weakness in the global telecoms network to track the kingdom’s citizens as they travel in the United States.


Over the last few years, Facebook has had a slew of privacy and security blunders and more details about one of them have come to light through a new court filing as the social media company is suing the spyware company NSO Group. It turns out Facebook tried to buy controversial government spyware to monitor iPhone and iPad users.


It was as part of this Apple bug bounty program that Ryan Pickren, the founder of proof of concept sharing platform BugPoC, responsibly disclosed his seven zero-day vulnerabilities discovery that enabled him to hijack the iPhone camera, and says earned him a none-too-shabby $75,000 from Apple for his efforts.





April 5th is the 96th day of this leap year and is also Sikmogil in South Korea.  If you really care, you’ll look it up!

Happy Birthday to:  Thomas Hobbes, English philosopher (b 1588, d 1679); Sir Thomas Hardy, 1st Baronet, English admiral (b 1769, d 1839); Joseph Lister, English surgeon and academic (b 1827, d 1912); Friedrich Sigmund Merkel, German anatomist and histopathologist (b 1845, d 1919); Booker T. Washington, African-American educator, essayist and historian (b 1856, d 1915); Albert Champion, French cyclist (b 1878, d 1927); Walter Huston, Canadian-American actor and singer (b 1883, d 1950); Spencer Tracy, American actor (b 1900, d 1967); Melvyn Douglas, American actor (b 1901, d 1981); Bette Davis, American actress and Herbert von Karajan, Austrian conductor and manager (b 1808, d 1989); Albert R. Broccoli, American film producer, co-founded Eon Productions (b 1909, d 1996); Gregory Peck, American actor, political activist, and producer (b 1916, d 2003); Robert Bloch, American author (b 1917, d 1994); Arthur Hailey, English-Canadian soldier and author (b 1920, d 2004); Roger Corman, American actor, director, producer, and screenwriter (b 1926); Nigel Hawthorne, English actor and producer (b 1929, d 2001); Frank Gorshin, American actor (b 1933, d 2005); Colin Powell, American general and politician, 65th United States Secretary of State (b 1937); Michael Moriarty, American-Canadian actor (b 1941); Dave Swarbrick, English singer-songwriter and fiddler (b 1941, d 2016); Allan Clarke, English singer-songwriter (b 1942); Peter Greenaway, Welsh director and screenwriter (b 1942); Jane Asher, English actress (b 1946); Judith Resnik, Ukrainian-American engineer and astronaut (b 1949, d 1986); Anthony Horowitz, English author and screenwriter (b 1955); Johan Kriek, South African-American tennis player (b 1958); Lana Clarkson, American actress and model (b 1962, d 2003); Victoria Hamilton, English actress (b 1971).

Rest in peace these folks who died on the 5th of April:  George Herbert, 5th Earl of Carnarvon, English archaeologist and businessman (b 1866, d 1923); Douglas MacArthur, American general (b 1880, d 1964); Chiang Kai-shek, Chinese general and politician, 1st President of the Republic of China (b 1887, d 1975); Howard Hughes, American pilot, engineer, and director (b 1905, d 1976); Kurt Cobain, American singer-songwriter and guitarist (b 1967, d 1994); Allen Ginsberg, American poet (b 1926, d 1997); Saul Bellow, Canadian-American novelist, essayist and short story writer, Nobel Prize laureate (b 1915, d 2005); Gene Pitney, American singer-songwriter (b 1941, d 2006); Charlton Heston, American actor, director, and political activist (b 1923, d 2008).

Some notable historic events that took place on April 5th:  In Virginia, Native American Pocahontas marries English colonist John Rolfe (1614); The Statute of Anne receives the royal assent establishing the Copyright law of the United Kingdom (1710, how interesting, I didn’t realise copyright was so old); United States President George Washington exercises his authority to veto a bill, the first time this power is used in the United States (1792); Archaeologists in Knossos, Crete, discover a large cache of clay tablets with hieroglyphic writing in a script they call Linear B (1900); The first international rugby league match is played between England and an Other Nationalities team (Welsh and Scottish players) in Central Park, Wigan (1904); Ethel and Julius Rosenberg are sentenced to death for spying for the Soviet Union (1951); Fidel Castro declares himself at war with Cuban President Fulgencio Batista (1956).

44 years ago today, on April 1, 1976, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, and Ronald Wayne signed a contract founding the Apple Computer Company.




This section is a bit thin, most of the strange news this week ended up in the Coronavirus section!  We live in interesting times.  🙂

The first paragraph of an email I received this week.  Some scams are hard to discern but some . . .

“This is to intimate you of a very important information which will be

of a great help to redeem you from all the difficulties you have been

experiencing in getting your long over due payment due to excessive

demand for money from you by both corrupt Bank officials and Courier

Companies after which your fund remain unpaid to you.”

Students from the Swiss university EPFL have developed a smart bra designed to detect breast cancer in its earliest stages. They believe it’s the first piece of clothing that can be used for cancer prevention. They even claim that it’s comfortable and that the tech is “nearly imperceptible.”




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.


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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.)