East SIG Report July 2021
28th August 2021
A Change to PC Update Subscriptions
28th August 2021

Dennis Parsons

NBN Questions and Comments

Steve posed the question of whether it was possible to use the 4G fall-back capability of a Telstra Smart Modem to tide his father over for a few days while broadband was connected during his move into a retirement village. The modem was currently in use by his father with Telstra and it was thought Telstra would complain after a few hours and besides, the fine print clearly stated it couldn’t be used away from the registered property.

Hotspotting a mobile phone was suggested as an alternative but Steve wasn’t keen as that would likely prove too fragile – his Dad would find a way to “break” it and wouldn’t be able to reinstate it without assistance.

The next thought was to use a SIM not linked to the active Telstra Internet account. Roger gave this a brief test with the Telstra Smart Modem he still uses with his Aussie Broadband connection and found it worked perfectly, albeit slowly.


Computer Help

Nick reported he was having trouble accessing the Bureau of Met website using Firefox, seemingly the lack of a secure version was causing problems. He’d tried turning off HTTPS-only mode, restarting Firefox and rebooting his computer but none of it helped. The website worked as expected using the Opera browser so the problem likely wasn’t network related.

Starting Firefox in safe mode (not Windows safe mode) which disables add-ons was suggested but it also had no effect. We asked for the version number, 91.0 which is the current version, and several of us confirmed the BOM website worked as expected for us using that version.

He advised he’d recently had a problem with his PC involving data corruption so a re-installation of Firefox was suggested. The Firefox installer offered the option to perform a “refresh” of the current installation rather than simply uninstall which Nick opted to take it, and this proved to be the solution. The BOM website was now fully accessible and working as expected.

As an aside another member contacted the BOM to enquire about the lack of a secure version of their website and was advised “there is currently a significant program of work underway to further enhance the Bureau’s ICT security and resilience”, hopefully including an upgrade to HTTPS access.


Linux Chat

Linux turned 30 this month and a few of us remembered how we started off – Red Hat was the favoured distribution of the late 90s and The Linux Pocketbook published by the APC Magazine was a good guide to get you started and came with a copy of Red Hat 5.2 and later 6.0. Linux really has been an exemplar of members helping each other – Greg encouraged me to take up using Linux (I felt right at home having used Unix on a mainframe) and I’ve helped out other members get their start with Linux.


Coronavirus Discussions and Comments

There was some discussion of the Service Victoria app used to check in to shops and venues for the purposes of contact tracing – it now shows a 28 day history of your check-ins that can easily be edited to remove entries if you’re wishing to conceal your whereabouts. Noting it only affects the list displayed on your phone, with the full listing still available to the contact tracers.

Concern had been expressed about the impact on victims of domestic violence as it could provide an easily accessed trail of visited premises but given the ease with which individual entries can be removed it doesn’t seem a show stopper.


Using Google

For anyone using Google’s tools such as Gmail, Photos, Drive, etc. this is the group to visit to find tips and ask questions on how to get the most from them.

By default the spam “folder” in Gmail is hidden away and needs to be dug down to if you want to check for misidentified e-mails. I put quotes around “folder” because Google uses a system it calls “labels” to categorise e-mails and arrange how they are displayed. Jan posted this tip on how to display the Spam “folder” at the top level:

The Spam ‘filter’/folder is below the More line in the list of folders/labels, so it isn’t easily seen. I found a way that is totally unintuitive to change that. Manage Labels.

In the Settings, choose the Labels tab. Then click on Show for the labels/folders you want at the top list and hide for those you don’t. If you want to see the Spam ‘folder’, click show