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NVMUG February 2021 Meeting Report

Northern Vermont Macintosh Users Group

Attending: Bruce Shields, Midge Lubot, Jane Fuller, and Geof Gonter

February 20, 2021

Meeting Minutes for the Northern Vermont Macintosh User Group

Held via Zoom online

The meeting started with a demonstration and discussion of using video effects and backgrounds in Zoom. Don’t be afraid to try things in the preferences in Zoom. You can alway change them back to the defaults.

We discussed the use of headphones with computers. Steve is using the original type of Airpods and has little, if any, issues with them on any devices. Geof has AirPods Pros and finds he has to remove them and reconnect them to his Mac quite often. He has no issues with using them with his phone or iPad. There is an application, AirBuddy, that is supposed to make the connection from AirPods to the Mac easy, that might be worth trying.

And it was asked again about bone conduction headsets. No one present has any experience with them, but Stephen talked about the science behind them.

Bruce still has issues with computer freezing and kernel panics that requires a reboot. He said that there seems to be a number of errors when he he runs disk utility and it warns him his drive may be failing. He has a SSD and and the install kit from OWC, but has not yet attempted to open his iMac to the replace the drive. On his computer the process is quite complex. He also told us about his experience with replacing the hard drive in his wife’s computer with a SSD, utilizing the cable that OWC had sent him.

We discussed the standard life of a laptop battery and how to use “About This Mac” (under the black apple in the top left hand corner) -> System Report” -> Browse down to Power and you can get information on the battery. That includes serial number, current charged state, number of charging cycles, and battery condition. Batteries life is usual Good to between 400 and 600 charging cycles. However, I recently changed one that had over 750 charging cycles.


You can also check battery condition by holding the cursor on the battery charge indicator in the top menubar. You can use Coconut Battery (https://www.coconut-flavour.com/coconutbattery/) to check the battery condition and a whole lot more about your computer, like when your computer was manufactured. A handy little free application.

A couple of things have come up since the meeting, Stephen wants the members to know about:

1. There has been malware (Dubbed Silver Sparrow) found. Once an hour, infected Macs check a control server to see if there are any new commands the malware should run or binaries to execute. So far, however, researchers have yet to observe delivery of any payload on any of the infected 30,000 machines, leaving the malware’s ultimate goal unknown. The lack of a final payload suggests that the malware may spring into action once an unknown condition is met. Infestation has been known to be on an estimated 30,000 older (Intel) and newer (Apple silicon) Macs. Stephen included a link (https://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2021/02/new-malware-found-on-30000-macs-has-security-pros-stumped/). Please note the article mentions that what the malware does is not known.
 An article at Tech Republic (https://www.techrepublic.com/article/mysterious-malware-infects-30000-mac-computers/?ftag=TREb82e1fa&bhid=26557650941292274236255106698849&mid=13276341&cid=976414815) mentions that Apple revoked the certificates of the developer accounts that signed the packages, which prevents new computers from getting infected. Further, the company employs such protection as the Apple notary service to detect and prevent malware from running on a machine. It also mentioned that the latest version of Malwarebytes (https://www.malwarebytes.com) is set up to remove the the malware. There is a free version that can be run.

2. A 1990s iMac Processor Powers NASA’s Perseverance Rover - An interesting article on on the technology that is being used to power the Perseverance Rover on Mars is at https://gizmodo.com/a-1990s-imac-processor-powers-nasa-s-perseverance-rover-1846380844.

The next NVMUG meeting will be a Zoom meeting on March 20 at 10:00 am. We may know then about the possibility of meeting face to face, but it currently does not look good.

If you wish to attend, please send me an email by 9:30 am, on that date, so I can send send you an email invitation to the meeting. The meetings will continue to be online meetings instead of the meeting room at the Northeastern Regional Hospital in Saint Johnsbury, Vermont. Right now that looks like it will not be before May 1, 2021

On Facebook? Visit us at https://www.facebook.com/groups/477957755742285/.

Geof Gonter



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