YMUG Newsletter — 2020/05/17

YMUG Newsletter — for the 17th of May, 2020 ACV (after Corona virus)

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



Ask iFixit: I spilled liquid on my laptop—now what?  Spoiler alert: don’t use rice.


Service Battery warning on Mac – do you need to replace the battery?  I’ve just noticed my laptop’s battery says it needs to be serviced but it only has 58 cycles so I’m going to try some of the suggestions here.


The best wireless mice you can buy. Ars Technica spent months researching and testing wireless mice for work and play.


Apple’s MagSafe charging cable was brilliant, designed so it would release if someone accidentally tripped on the cable. For reasons unknown, Apple abandoned this ideas, but now the EVRI Magnetic Tip USB Cable is here to save the day. It works with USB-C devices like the MacBook and iPad Pro,


2020 13-inch MacBook Pro review: The standard macOS workhorse.  A new keyboard and faster performance make this slightly thicker laptop a winner.


A problem I wish I had: How to choose between the new 13-inch MacBook Pro versus the 16-inch MacBook Pro.  If you’d like to help me deal with this dilemma donations gratefully accepted.


System Preferences in MacOS shows a red badge circle icon when there is an available software update for the Mac. This can be helpful for users who want to be notified of software updates, but it can be annoying to other Mac users who are specifically avoiding a particular software update.


How to disable iCloud Drive on Mac.  Why would you want to do that?  Well, if you’re not using it it does take up some of your computer’s time trying to stay in sync with the ‘cloud’.


Tencent security researcher Yuebin Sun today disclosed three security vulnerabilities in Adobe Acrobat Reader for Mac that could allow an attacker to gain root privileges and access sensitive user data.  Adobe patched the vulnerabilities in an update to Acrobat this week, so make sure you are running version 2020.009.20063 or later by opening the app and navigating to Help > Check for Updates.

(That’s pretty much the whole story so no link required,)

There’s a new attack that uses off-the-shelf equipment to take full control of a PC—even when locked—if a hacker gets just a few minutes alone with it. The vector is a familiar one: the Thunderbolt ultrafast interface connects graphics cards, storage systems, and other peripherals to millions of computers.  The hack, which took years to develop, is elegant. Its adept mix of cryptanalysis, reverse engineering, and exploit development punches a major hole in defenses that Thunderbolt creator Intel spent considerable time and resources to erect. Ultimately, though, the technique is an incremental advance in an attack that has existed for more than a decade. While the weakness it exploits is real and should be closed, the vast majority of people—think 99 percent—shouldn’t worry about it.


Chrome will soon block resource-draining ads.


You’ve heard of Zoom, the Skype-like video conference calling service that’s sweeping the world  Of course you have, you’re paying attention.  Anyway, there’s a new e-book Take Control of Zoom that you can now get for a 30% discount by following the link below.


Ever wanted to turn your handwriting into a font? Wanted to personalize your digital stationery or add a flourish to your website? There are a few tools around that can take your own scribblings and turn them into usable fonts for your computer or other devices. It doesn’t take long and as long as you can write legibly, it can produce a decent quality font for almost any use.


Initial failures of Apple’s butterfly keyboard doomed it from the start.




How to save pictures as JPEG instead of HEIC on the iPhone.  Note: I tried this and my iPhone 6s doesn’t have the option listed . . . maybe it’s too old?  Maybe I’ve been naughty and I’m not allowed?


Worried your kids will get up to no good while using your iOS devices? Learn how to disable the touchscreen on iPhone or iPad so that your little ones can watch their favorite videos without accessing other apps and features.


Compared: iPhone SE (2020) versus iPhone SE (2016).


Compared: Microsoft’s Surface Book 3 versus Apple’s iPad Pro.




Gold Apple Watch keeps on ticking after 9 months underwater but it’s not a recommended procedure.



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

A regional German data protection office reportedly has concerns about the privacy risks posed by customer temperature checks at Apple Stores that recently reopened in the country.


The European Union has rejected the idea of making coronavirus contact tracing apps mandatory for international travel.  Not like any of us are going anywhere soon eh?


The corona crisis is changing the global economy. Production security is growing more important than efficiency. Here is what that might look like.


COVID-19 linked to 30-fold increase in rare childhood inflammatory disease.  The condition is rare, but it could help explain mysteries of COVID-19.


Domestic cats can catch the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus, and when kept in very close proximity, they can infect other cats. That’s the finding of a letter published in this week’s New England Journal of Medicine.


When the novel coronavirus swept through the United States, architect Joseph Badame had cause to say “I told you so!” He didn’t know what calamity was coming, but Badame prepared for nearly everything: he designed and built an 8,500 square-foot, partly-underground house on 3 acres in Medford, N.J., surrounded by an electric fence, plus enough outbuildings and food to accommodate 120 friends and family for a full year. He even thought to stock 4,200 rolls of toilet paper, and buried tanks to hold gasoline, kerosene, diesel fuel, and heating oil. He installed a coal-fired furnace supplied by “tons” of coal stacked outside. What does he think now, with COVID-19 killing thousands per day? “This is much more severe than I even planned for,” says Badame, now 77, “when you combine the trigger of the coronavirus and then the reaction to it.” But his decades of preparation and million-dollar stockpile of supplies aren’t helping: he lost the house to foreclosure in 2017, and now lives with a friend (RC/NJ.com) .



Key moments in the history of Mac malware – 1982 to the present.


Hiding in not-so-plain sight, deep within the depths of your iPhone’s settings (seven layers deep, to be exact) is a level of location tracking that very few iPhone users are aware of and probably won’t feel comfortable with. Sure, many of us know that our iPhone generally tracks us when we use certain apps to enable it to share personalised information like the local weather, coffee shop recommendations, and more. But in a quick survey I ran with some friends, not one person (out of dozens of people that I surveyed) knew where or how to navigate to this specific screen that I’m talking about here. It’s called the Significant Locations list.  (Jerad note: I’d turned this off months ago and that setting stays even after updates.)


Configuring your iPhone for maximum privacy and security.  How to protect your web browsing from privacy invasions and the surveillance state (Jerad note: I’m not advocating any of this, just passing it on in case you want to have a gander . . . or even a goose.)


US Senate votes to allow FBI to look at your web browsing history without a warrant.



Hackers sell over 73 million stolen user records on the dark web.  This includes over 30 million from dating site Zoosk.




May 17th is the 138th day of this leap year and is also World Hypertension Day and World Information Society Day.  Whatever that means.

Happy Birthday to:  Edward Jenner, English physician and microbiologist (b 1749, d 1823); Maureen O’Sullivan, Irish-American actress (b 1911, d 1998); Archibald Cox, American lawyer and politician, 31st United States Solicitor General (b 1912, d 2004); Birgit Nilsson, Swedish operatic soprano (b 1918, d 2005); Ronald Wayne, American computer scientist, co-founded Apple Inc (b 1934); Dennis Potter, English voice actor, director, producer, and screenwriter (b 1935, d 1994); Dennis Hopper, American actor and director (b 1936, d 2010); Taj Mahal, American blues singer-songwriter and musician (b 1942); Jesse Winchester, American singer-songwriter, guitarist, and producer (b 1944, d 2014); Tony Roche, Australian tennis player and coach (b 1945); Bill Bruford, English drummer, songwriter, and producer (b 1949); Alan Johnson, English politician, Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer (b 1950); Simon Hughes, English lawyer and politician (b 1951); Bill Paxton, American actor and director (b 1955, d 2017 . . . oh, I didn’t know he died); Sugar Ray Leonard, American boxer (b 1956); Simon Fuller, English talent manager and producer, created the Idols series (b 1960); Enya, Irish singer-songwriter and producer (b 1961);Trent Reznor, American singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and producer and  Jeremy Vine, English journalist and author (b 1965); Andrea Corr, Irish singer-songwriter, pianist, and actress (b 1974).

Rest in peace these folks who died on the 17th of May:  Sandro Botticelli, Italian painter (b. 1445, d 1510); Catherine I of Russia (b. 1684, d 1727); Lawrence Welk, American accordion player and bandleader (b. 1903, d 1992); Kevin Gilbert, American singer-songwriter, producer and the brother of a friend of mine (b. 1966, d 1996); Tony Randall, American actor (b. 1920, d 2004); Frank Gorshin, American actor (b. 1934, d 2005); Harmon Killebrew, American baseball player and sportscaster (b. 1936, d 2011); Donna Summer, American singer-songwriter (b. 1948, d 2012);Herman Wouk, American author (b. 1915, d 2019).

Some notable historic events that took place on May 17th:  George Boleyn, 2nd Viscount Rochford and four other men are executed for treason and  Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn’s marriage is annulled (1536); The children’s novel The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, by L. Frank Baum, is first published in the United Statesl rhe first copy is given to the author’s sister (1900); Greek archaeologist Valerios Stais discovers the Antikythera mechanism, an ancient mechanical analog computer (1902); Dambuster Raids commence by No. 617 Squadron RAF (1943); Watergate scandal: Televised hearings begin in the United States Senate (1973); Prince Charles calls a proposed addition to the National Gallery, London, a “monstrous carbuncle on the face of a much-loved and elegant friend”, sparking controversies on the proper role of the Royal Family and the course of modern architecture (1984); The General Assembly of the World Health Organization (WHO) eliminates homosexuality from the list of psychiatric diseases (1990).



Are ghosts haunting the British Museum?  Inexplicable noises, spectral sightings, sudden drops in temperature—something strange is going on at the British Museum. As the clamour over colonial restitution grows, Killian Fox investigates the collection’s restless objects.


When AI takes on Eurovision: Can a computer write a hit song?  One Reddit-trained AI’s lyrics? “Kill the government, kill the system.” Whoops.


For those starting their Christmas shopping: Beeline Creative, in partnership with Toynk Toys, have just released these gorgeous Lord of the Rings Geeki Tiki Mugs. The collection consists of a total of 3 officially licensed LOTR-inspired Geeki Tikis featuring the popular characters Gollum, Gandalf, and Frodo.


Fingernail technician Cynthia Renee Covert, 57, made a house call to do nails for Barbara Howell at her Kiawah Island, S.C., home. As Covert worked on Howell’s nails on the outdoor porch, she was “fascinated” by a large alligator in a nearby pond, so after the session she went to get a closer look. Howell warned her that the gator had recently grabbed a deer on the shore. “I don’t look like a deer,” Covert replied — and reached down to pet the beast. Howell and her husband William started screaming at her to get away as William ran to pull her back. Before he arrived the animal grabbed her by the leg and dragged her into the water. When Covert got waist-deep, William says, “she stated in a very calm voice, ‘I guess I won’t do this again’.” And with that, the gator rolled over, pulling her underwater. The pond was still by the time Charleston County Sheriff’s deputies arrived A short time later the gator surfaced, and a deputy shot it in the head several times with his sidearm, causing it to release Covert’s body. The coroner listed the cause of her death as accidental drowning. (RC/Columbia State)



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.)