YMUG Newsletter — 2020/04/12

YMUG Newsletter — for the 12th 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.



99% Invisible is a lovely podcast from America that focuses on design issues.  The host, Roman Mars, has a lovely voice and a gentle sense of humour.  This last week they covered a short history of loo roll and I found it very interesting.  And sometimes very funny.

Anyway, if you’re bored with hearing about COVID-19 and would like to try something different give 99% Invisible a try.  And if you do let me know what you think.

And now, on with the show!!



Apple releases macOS Catalina 10.15.4 Supplemental Update with FaceTime and other bug fixes.  I’ve installed it and noticed nothing different.


Some users experiencing system crashes on macOS 10.15.4, especially during large file transfers.


How to manage open apps and windows on Mac, some good basic tips here.


The five best free drawing apps for Mac


Mozilla has given Firefox’s address bar a refreshed look and a couple of updates that can make searches go faster. To start with, the browser will now enlarge the address bar whenever you want to do a search and will show the popular sites that show up when you type with larger fonts and shorter URLs.


How to import your Chrome passwords into your iCloud Keychain


Singapore has suspended the use of video-conferencing tool Zoom by its teachers, after a “very serious incident” during a home-based lesson. One mother told local media that, during her daughter’s geography lesson, obscene images appeared on screen, before two men asked girls to “flash”.  It’s been a bad week for Zoom.






Microsoft’s gamble on a Chromium-based Edge browser appears to have paid off, at least in the short term. Bleeping Computer noted that Edge is now the second most popular desktop web browser based on usage, with NetMarketShare giving the software nearly 7.6 percent of the market in March, eclipsing a declining Mozilla Firefox with almost 7.2 percent.


Though Apple’s Mac is widely considered to have less problems than its counterparts, it still comes with some common issues including security issues, according to David A Milman, CEO of RESCUECOM, a computer support company. That said, “though common problems exist with Mac, Apple does a lot to help you solve them,” he adds. ” It is easy to see why Mac problems take up the least amount of calls to RESCUECOM for computer repair.”




Apple Releases iOS and iPadOS 13.4.1 with fix for FaceTime bug


iPhone sound not working?  Here’s some things to try.


iPhone 11 pro diary: 28 weeks later, photographing an empty London.  Some eerie images, very interesting.




Apple Releases watchOS 6.2.1 With FaceTime Bug Fix



CORONA VIRUS STUFF — skip if you’re fed up with hearing about this (anyone missing Brexit?)

How do those Coronavirus tests work anyway?


Apple, Google team on ‘contact tracing’ smartphone software to combat spread of COVID-19


As governments around the world urge their citizens to “Stay at home, save lives,” the UK Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport is using in-game advertising to get that message in front of a younger audience of video game players. The messaging is already appearing through in-game banners in Codemasters’ Dirt Rally 2.0, which will be offered as a free PlayStation Plus title this month. Rebellion titles like Sniper Elite and Strange Brigade, meanwhile, will display the message before the start of each game. And King’s Candy Crush Saga will insert the PSA amid the usual interstitial advertising for millions of free-to-play players.


Residents of Wuhan, the Chinese city where the COVID-19 pandemic began, were free to move about Wednesday after a government-ordered lockdown was lifted, but only if they have the “green light” on their iPhone. Freedom comes with a QR code residents are required to carry on mobile devices like their iPhones – and can be restricted at any moment should the scanned code flash the wrong color.


Air pollution levels in the UK have dropped significantly in the two weeks since the country went into lockdown to stop the spread of coronavirus.

Some cities have seen nitrogen dioxide (NO2) levels fall by up to 60% on the same period last year, analysis shows.


Cell tower attacks aren’t just a UK phenomenon. De Telegraaf reports that attackers committed arson or sabotage against several cell towers in the Netherlands, four of them just in the past week.


A man has been fined after he was caught speeding at 110mph on the motorway and told police he had been to London to buy bread The man was stopped by officers at about 22:40 BST on Sunday travelling to Nottingham northbound on the M1. They said he had been in the car with his two young children and claimed bread in London was £1 cheaper.


A “crazy” town has come up with a unique way to fight lockdown boredom – by mooing in unison. Every evening at 18:30 locals in Belper, Derbyshire, gather on doorsteps and lean out of bedroom windows for a two-minute cattle chorus.


Easter Bunny and tooth fairy are ‘essential workers,’ New Zealand prime minister says.


In his 1978 novel The Stand, author Stephen King wrote about a viral pandemic that decimated the world’s population. And he gets it when fans say experiencing the COVID-19 outbreak feels like stepping into one of his horror stories. “I keep having people say, ‘Gee, it’s like we’re living in a Stephen King story,’ ” he says. “And my only response to that is, ‘I’m sorry.’ “


The Australian triathlete Mirinda Carfrae lost out in a virtual race after her husband tripped and disconnected the power cable of her smart bike. Carfrae, a former triathlon world champion, was competing in the inaugural Ironman VR Pro Challenge women’s race from her home in Colorado. She was second in the race, which was broadcast live on Facebook, when disaster struck.


With coronavirus lockdowns in place, an ambulance carrying Preeti Verma, 27, of Raipur, Chhattisgarh, India, was stopped multiple times on the way to the hospital. “But they let us go after noticing my condition,” Verma said: she was in labor. Once at the hospital, “I was blessed with the twins — a boy and a girl,” Verma said “We have named them Covid [the boy] and Corona [the girl].” The parents said they may rename the twins later, but their birth names will remind them of all the hardships they overcame during the lockdown. (MS/Pune Mirror)

A grocery store in Genesee Township, Mich., called police to report a man was “walking around inside the store with his hands down his pants, and touching and pushing around shopping carts while stating that he was infected with COVID-19.” Police found the man in the parking lot, and witnesses reported he had been touching their shopping carts and telling them he was infected Jonathan David-Asher Miracle, 26, was arrested Genesee County Prosecutor David Leyton charged Miracle with making a false threat of terrorism, which is punishable by up to 20 years in prison. (RC/Detroit News, WJRT Flint)

Eduardo Moreno, 44, a train engineer with Pacific Harbor Line at the Port of Los Angeles in southern California, was “suspicious” about the USNS Mercy, and said he thought “it had an alternate purpose related to COVID-19 or a government takeover.” He thus “spontaneously” got into a locomotive and drove it full-throttle down the track toward the white ship emblazoned with red crosses, denoting its mission as a non-commissioned U.S. Navy medical ship. It had docked in Los Angeles to provide medical care as the pandemic overwhelms area hospitals, just as the USNS Comfort was dispatched to New York. The tracks ended long before the speeding locomotive reached the ship, and the train came to rest more than 800 ft (250m) from the dock. Moreno has been charged with train wrecking, a federal felony punishable by 20 years in prison. “You only get this chance once. The whole world is watching,” Moreno told the arresting officer, who witnessed the crash and chased Moreno down as he ran from it. “I had to. People don’t know what’s going on here. Now they will.” (RC/Washington Post)

In 2005, “scientists were predicting that bird flu was going to be the next major world pandemic,” says Peter May, the Scottish author of the novel Lockdown, about what a pandemic could do to society. It’s set in London, England, and it’s based on documents created a few years earlier by the U.K. and U.S. governments. May had trouble selling it: publishers found the book “extremely unrealistic and unreasonable.” But in 2020, when someone suggested he write a novel dealing with COVID-19, “I realized that I’ve kind of already done it,” he said A publisher has now bought it, and it’s available as an ebook while being printed (AC/CNN)



Some shirts hide you from cameras—but will anyone wear them? It’s theoretically possible to become invisible to cameras. But can it catch on?  Sign me up!!


Attackers can bypass fingerprint authentication with an ~80% success rate, but don’t panic, it’s hard work.




April 12th is the 103rd day of this leap year and is also National Redemption Day in Liberia and Halifax Day in North Carolina.

Happy Birthday to:  Lily Pons, French-American soprano and actress (b 1898, d 1976); Beverly Cleary, American author (b 1916, I met her and have her signature in a book); Tiny Tim, American singer and ukulele player (b 1932, d 1996); Herbie Hancock, American pianist, composer, and bandleader (b 1940); Bobby Moore, English footballer and manager (b 1941, d 1993); Tom Clancy, American historian and author (b 1947, d 2013); Dan Lauria, American actor and  David Letterman, American comedian and talk show host (b 1947); Jeremy Beadle, English television host and producer (b 1948, d 2008); Scott Turow, American lawyer and author (b 1949); David Cassidy, American singer-songwriter and guitarist (b 1950, d 2017); Pat Travers, Canadian singer-songwriter and guitarist (b 1954); Andy Garcia, Cuban-American actor, director, and producer (b 1956); Amy Ray, American folk-rock singer-songwriter, musician, and music producer and  Kim Bodnia, Danish actor and director (b 1965); Claire Danes, American actress (b 1979).

Rest in peace these folks who died on the 12th of April:  Vsevolod the Big Nest, Grand Prince of Vladimir, who I’ve never heard of but I love his name (b 1154, d 1212); Clara Barton, American nurse and humanitarian, founded the American Red Cross (b 1821, d 1912); Franklin d Roosevelt, American lawyer and politician, 32nd President of the United States (b 1882, d 19145); Josephine Baker, French actress, activist, and humanitarian (b 1906, d 1975); Joe Louis, American boxer and wrestler (b 1914, d 1981); Abbie Hoffman, American activist, co-founded Youth International Party (b 1936, d 1989); Sugar Ray Robinson, American boxer (b 1921, d 1989).

Some notable historic events that took place on April 12th:  The Union Flag is adopted as the flag of English and Scottish ships (1606); American Revolution: With the Halifax Resolves (ah, that explains why it’s Halifax Day in North Carolina), the North Carolina Provincial Congress authorises its Congressional delegation to vote for independence from Britain (1776); Soldiers marching on the Broughton Suspension Bridge in Manchester, England, cause it to collapse (1831); American Civil War: Battle of Fort Sumter. The war begins with Confederate forces firing on Fort Sumter, in the harbor of Charleston, South Carolina (1861); The United Kingdom annexes the Transvaal (1877); RMS Titanic was still floating, sorry, I’m a bit of a Titanic and Lusitania anorak (1912); U.S. President Franklin d Roosevelt dies in office; Vice President Harry S. Truman becomes President upon Roosevelt’s death and The U.S. Ninth Army under General William H. Simpson crosses the Elbe River astride Magdeburg, and reached Tangermünde—only 50 miles from Berlin (1945); The polio vaccine, developed by Dr. Jonas Salk, is declared safe and effective (1955); The Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin becomes the first human to travel into outer space and perform the first manned orbital flight, Vostok 1 (1961); The first launch of a Space Shuttle (Columbia) takes place: The STS-1 mission (1981).



The Queen wore a “green screen” dress, and the internet is having a field day


“I’ve been a trooper for almost 10 years and I’ve had a lot of excuses when I’ve arrested people or pulled people over,” said Washington State Trooper Heather Axtman, but nothing like this. After receiving numerous calls reporting a reckless driver on Interstate 5, troopers found it and gave chase at speeds over 100 mph. Troopers could see that the “driver” behind the wheel of the fugitive vehicle was a pit bull terrier. A human was sitting next to the dog holding the wheel and, presumably, had his foot firmly planted on the accelerator. The car crashed, without injuries. Alberto Tito Alejandro, 51, was arrested on “multiple felonies,” including driving under the influence of drugs. “He admitted to our troopers that he was trying to teach his dog to drive,” Axtman said (RC/KOMO Seattle, AFP)

“This is not my expertise,” admitted Daniel Reardon, 27, a astrophysics research fellow at Swinburne University in Melbourne, Vic., Australia. “It’s just something I was working on in my spare time.” His idea was to come up with a way to actively remind people not to touch their faces, which can lead to COVID-19 infections. To do that, he designed a necklace with circuitry coupled with bracelets with strong neodymium magnets, and when the necklace detects the wrist-worn magnets, an alarm sounds. “But I had problems when I stupidly attached these magnets” to his nose, and they, “of course were attracted to each other across my nose and pinched together.” Further experiments resulted in several inside his nose — and he couldn’t get them out. He ended up in the emergency room. “I had two doctors working on me,” he said: “one doctor in each nostril.” They got the magnets out and sent Dr. Reardon on his way. (RC/CBC)



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.)